Abraham Lincoln is a name even the youngest students seem to learn
early on. My own fascination with the tall, lanky gentleman has
never waned. In My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln, fictional
character Sam Harding is a 10-year old boy living in Indiana. He
befriends 11-year old schoolmate Abe Lincoln. The two share many
adventures together, from fishing to playing with their Kickapoo
Indian friends. Sam's description of his pal includes Abe's love
of learning and reading, his ability to tell stories and share
his opinions, and his strong work ethic. On a trip to Kentucky,
the friends witness a slave market, which impacts both of them
and makes Abe very angry.
A few years later, Sam moves away and doesn't hear anything more
of his friend until 35 years later, when he reads about the Lincoln-Douglas
slavery debates in Illinois. Sam tells of Lincoln's rise to the
American presidency and his ultimately successful campaign to end
This work of historical fiction is aimed at ages 5 through 8.
It could be used as a read-aloud (by either the student or teacher)
for the subjects of language arts or history. While it is obviously
not a complete curriculum, it is a satisfying complement. In fact,
on the book's website, readers can learn even more about the author
and illustrator as well as play puzzle games.
My son is reluctant to read. However, when he saw this story was
about Abe Lincoln, he was excited about reading it himself. He
read it out loud to me and very much enjoyed the story. It inspired
further discussion about American history based on the questions
and comments he expressed. He even cried when we talked about slavery.
My tough little boy showed me his heart.
While I appreciated and enjoyed this story, there were some things
that required further explanation to my 8-year old. There were
a few words that were either tough for my son to figure out how
to pronounce or words or phrases he didn't understand. However,
and more importantly, the end of the story leaves the reader with
the conclusion that the Civil War was about ending slavery. Well,
yes, that was one of the reasons the North and South fought, but
it was not the only reason. I think there was a missed opportunity
to point that out to young students. I also hoped for a glimpse
of Lincoln's Christian walk, but that was missing.
Creating a desire to read and to learn about history are important
goals for our homeschool, so I am pleased to include My Best
Friend, Abe Lincoln in our home library. It's a great choice
for my younger kids and for other children who visit and browse