A Whole Lotta Lincoln Going On

Alison Morris -- July 9th, 2008

If you’re a big Abe Lincoln fan, then this could be your year. February of 2009 will mark the 200th year since old Abe’s birth, prompting towns all over the U.S. to host Lincoln Bicentennial celebrations and publishers to roll out the Lincoln lore like there’s no tomorrow.

Think I’m exaggerating? Pasted below are the covers (where I could find them) of just THIRTEEN of the many, many NEW trade books on Abraham Lincoln that will be published between now and this February. These are in addition to the many, many new library edition books that will be appearing this fall, and the many, many former hardcovers about Lincoln that will soon be appearing in paperback for the first time, OR the paperbacks long out of print that will soon be reissued. There are even at least 3 new Little Dover Books ($1.50 each) coming out this December as part of the Lincoln craze.

Most (if not all) of these thirteen books featured below ones I’ve purchased for our store (or will be purchasing for our store), because most are by well-known authors and most will get a great deal of publicity. But as much as I’d like to believe that every customer in town will come racing in the door to buy Lincoln books, I don’t. And even if MOST of them came racing in the door, what are the odds of them needing 13 different new hardcover books to choose from? What are the odds of them (unless they’re teachers focusing on Civil War-era history) buying up more than 1 or 2 titles? Is there anyone out there who will actually be buying all 13 of these books? VERY doubtful.

It’s not like Lincoln is a new subject for books. Lincoln’s birthday comes around every year in February, and I’ve yet to see a true "run" on Lincoln books yet. It’s not like we’ve suddenly "discovered" a hidden treasure box of information about the guy, either, or that libraries are completely lacking in Lincoln-themed titles.

BUT, so it goes. And I’m not knocking the quality of the books that are forthcoming, as WOW. A lot of them are fantastic. And there’s quite a variety here. But I do worry that having so many Lincolns could mean a lot of publishers lose Washingtons, as there’s just too much competition in the mix.

Here you go: THIRTEEN forthcoming Lincoln titles, in order of publication month. Which of these are your favorites? Which older titles Lincoln titles do you think stand out from the pack? What forthcoming books have I missed here that you think are worth noting? Post a comment and let us all know.

Coming from Henry Holt Books for Young Readers in August 2008, Abraham Lincoln Comes Home written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor.

Coming from Albert Whitman in August 2008, Abe Lincoln Loved Animals written by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Doris Ettlinger.

Coming from Viking Children’s Books in September 2008, Mr. Lincoln’s Boys written by Staton Rabin and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

Coming from Henry Holt Books for Young Readers in September 2008, Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship written by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Coming from Feiwel and Friends in September 2008, Lincoln Shot: A President’s Life Remembered written by Barry Denenberg and illustrated by Christopher Bing.

Coming from Walker and Company in September 2008, Lincoln Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life by Martin W. Sandler.

Coming from Schwartz & Wade Books in September 2008, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend) written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by John Hendrix. (Of the titles listed here, this one has the least to offer in the way of factual information, but I give it the highest rating for sheer entertainment value. What a FUN, funny book!)

Coming from Schwartz & Wade Books in October 2008, The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary by Candace Fleming.

Coming from Hyperion in October 2008, Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln written by Doreen Rappoport and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Coming from Scholastic/Blue Sky Press in February 2009, Our Abe Lincoln by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock.

Coming from Scholastic Press in February 2009, Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson.

I couldn’t find cover images for the following titles. For now you’ll have to use your imaginations!

Coming from National Geographic Children’s Books in December 2008, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: The Unlikely Friendship of Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln by Lynda Jones.

Coming from Collins in December 2008, What Lincoln Said written by Sarah L. Thompson and illustrated by James E. Ransome.

Coming from Simon & Schuster in January 2009, My Brother Abe: Sally Lincoln’s Story written by Harry Mazer.

14 thoughts on “A Whole Lotta Lincoln Going On

  1. Laurel Leder

    I was priviledged to be at the Wisconsin Reading Association convention last June with Candace Fleming. She was wonderful and spoke of how she did her research on The Lincolns, A Scrapbook, and how she lived and grew up in the land of Lincoln. She grew up near many of the now famous sites of Lincoln and she brings her joy and wonder of the history of this famous president to her book. I can’t wait for it to come out and to find a way for her to sign it for me. What a wonderful woman.

  2. Ellen Mager

    Alison, I’ve actually bought 2 more! Candlewick has a January drop in title of Mr. Lincoln’s Sons by Rosemary Wells illustrated bu P.J. Lynch (a store favorite) and Feiwel & Friends has an amazing looking old fashion newspaper done by Barry Dennenberg called LINCOLN SHOT. Also a note, Deborah Heiligman has a wonderful Charles Darwin from Henry Holt in January.

  3. Anne

    I’m a fan of Abraham Lincoln for Kids by Janis Herbert – she has a fun, easy-to-read style of writing and lots of great crafts to go along with it, too (it’s not a new book – came out a year or two ago maybe? – but it’s one of my favorite Lincoln books).

  4. CuriousCity

    WHAT LINCOLN SAID by Sarah L. Thomson uses Lincoln’s own WORDS to tell the story of his life and presidency. Thomson’s writing weaves around Lincoln’s perfectly. When Lincoln says of the war, “I cannot bear it…” you hardly can. So nicely done.

  5. Bradi

    Ooligan Press, located in Portland, OR, is releasing the conclusion to their Lincoln Out of Time trilogy in February. The books are titled: Abraham Lincoln, A Novel Life; Good Friday; and Lincoln’s Daughter. They take an “alternative” look at Lincoln as he time travels to 1955. Fun and interesting reads!

  6. Kay Winters

    And I hope that some older Lincoln titles like my Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, published by S and S will not be overlooked in the flood of new Lincoln titles. When I do school visits I find that children are amazed to discover that Abe’s parents couldn’t read or write, and that books played such an important role in Lincoln’s life as he walked out of the wilderness into the White House.

  7. bob alunni

    Don’t forget to check out Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer 9780060773342 coming this fall–an interesting book that covers his literary influences and his progression as a writer. : )

  8. Carol Chittenden

    Good news: Feb. 12, 2009 is also the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, prompting at least one book, from Candlewick. So after people have bought all 74 new Lincoln titles, plus a few of the 123 already published, they’ll be up for a dab of Darwin on the side.

  9. Kevin A. Lewis

    Let’s not overlook “I, Elizabel”-the gripping historical drama of how young Abe Lincoln’s doomed romance with a misunderstood teen vampiress changed the course of the nation’s destiny…

  10. kenny

    Swanson’s Chasing Lincoln’s Killers is a ya adaptation of his manhunt, an excellent book. Some older kids will also enjoy Swansons’ Lincoln’s Assassins, 9780061237621. Though produced as a pictorial extension of Swanson’s Manhunt,it stands entirely on it’s own, and has some amazing photographic stills taken of Booth’s co-conspirators while they were in custody on a ship.

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