It is organized in a unique way:
1. The day Abraham Lincoln was shot (starting with breakfast)
2. Mary Todd's upbringing in Lexington, Kentucky
3. Elizabeth Keckley's upbringing as a slave
4. The friendship of these two women.
You could certainly say that Mary and Elizabeth (Lizzy) were opposites. Priviledged Mary Todd grew up waited-on by slaves while Lizzy endured the wretched life of a slave. Mary lost her mother early in life and was then subjected to a loathsome step-mother. Lizzy on the other hand was raised in the company of her mother, the plantation's seamstress. And thankfully, her mother taught her how to sew, a skill that eventually earned her freedom and an introduction to the upper-crust of the nation's capitol.
Readers will come away from this story with empathy for those trapped in slavery and a true sense of what Antebellum life was like. A great read.
Ages 12 and up
Another Lincoln title caught my eye this week. The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary is a thick "scrapbook" containing 156 pages of newspaper clippings, photos, political cartoons and letters from the couples lives all arranged in chronological order. It's chock-full of information making for interesting browsing. Here is one of the many little gems it contains...an account of the first time Abraham met Mary:
Tall and gawky, wearing a swallowtail coat that was too short, shabbily patched trousers, and mismatched socks, Abraham made his way to Mary's side. "Miss Todd," he said, "I want to dance with you in the worst way." And, as Mary remembered it, "he certainly did."
Ages 9 and up
Activity: How well do you know the 16th president? Try this Abraham Lincoln Crossword Puzzle.