Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln
written by Doreen Rappaport
illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Abe's Honest Words is an absolutely stunning book! Rappaport's moving, lyrical text and Nelson's large, spell-binding paintings work together to powerfully communicate they key events of Lincoln's life and the principles that defined his life and his presidency. Rappaport and Nelson have captured Lincoln's passion for learning, for humanity, and for justice. Despite being very familiar with the life and accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln, I walked away from this book newly amazed at what a remarkable and inspired man he was. This really is must-have book for every American classroom--for President's Day, for US History lessons, for any time.
Interest Level: Grade 2-6
DRA Level: 40
Guided Reading Level: S
Lexile Measure: 820L
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.4
International Reading Association Teachers Choice Award
New York Public Library 100 Books for Reading
Chicago Public Library Best of Best Children's Books
Capital Choices 100 Best of the Year List
CCBC Choices Best Children's Books of the Year
Below are sample spreads from this book. If you know Kadir Nelson's work, you know that you have to see the images full size to get that "gasp" moment. They are STUNNING! Regardless, we will show you little samples of their greatness here. :) These sample pages will also give you an idea of the amount of text on each page, and the reading level of the text. This book is targeted to grades 2-6, so the reading level will be a little too challenging for the younger end of that range to read on their own. A read aloud is best for that audience. But, the reading level is just right for kids in the upper elementary grades to be able to pick up this book and read it to themselves.
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If you are looking for related activities and lesson ideas to go with this book, try the following. Also, the back of Abe's Honest Words lists important dates, suggestions for further reading, website, research sources...
Abraham Lincoln Quotes
Abe's Honest Words is really effective at giving kids a sense of who Abraham Lincoln was and what he stood for. After reading the book to your students, you can continue learning about Lincoln by reading and discussing some of his very wise, kid-friendly quotes, such as:
"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
"People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."
"I don't like that man. I must get to know him better."
"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend."
"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."
You could either discuss the quotes together as a whole class, or have kids illustrate and explain the quotes independently or in small groups, using our free activity to accompany this book: Abe Lincoln Quotes Lesson / Activity Idea (shown below).