A New Birth of Freedom: Abe's Honest Words by Doreen Rappaport and Kadir Nelson
Abraham Lincoln is my name,
And with my pen I wrote the same.
I wrote in both haste and speed,
And left it here for fools to read.
The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll git me a book I ain't read.
In both of these earliest writings of Abraham Lincoln, his love of reading and writing and his noted sense of humor shine forth. In her timely Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln Doreen Rappaport, award-winning author of Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has put together a compendium of his own words at pivotal moments in his lifetime in a moving tribute to Lincoln, whose two-hundredth birthday is honored this year. Here are Lincoln's own thoughts when, as a very young man, he traveled down the Mississippi to New Orleans and witnessed a slave auction in progress:
"Twelve Negroes, chained six and six, strung together like so many fish on a trotline, being separated forever from their childhood and friends, their fathers and mothers, their brothers and sisters, from their wives and children, into perpetual slavery."
We also hear the consummate drive that Lincoln brought to his own self-education:
"Upon the subject of education, I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in."
But Lincoln's time in the White House was mostly taken up with issues of war and the end of slavery. Although the decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, with all its implications for the war and peace to follow, came hard, Lincoln's mind was at last firmly fixed:
"I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper. My whole soul is in it.... In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free."
And in the second inaugural address came a message to the future nation which has haunted and inspired us to this day:
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds."
Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln pairs Lincoln's well-known but still striking words with Kadir Nelson's strong and stunning illustrations which visually echo the President's thoughts perfectly. Of all the many good books for children on Honest Abe, this one stands out artistically and thematically as an extraordinary portrait of our most honored president through his own powerful words.