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Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  760 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
From the time he was a young boy roaming the forests of the unsettled Midwest, Abraham Lincoln knew in his heart that slavery was deeply wrong. A voracious reader, Lincoln spent every spare moment of his days filling his mind with knowledge, from history to literature to mathematics, preparing himself to one day lead the country he loved towards greater equality and prospe ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by Disney-Hyperion (first published October 7th 2008)
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Kadir Nelson uses his stunning grasp of human nuances to illustrate President Abraham Lincoln's life. Nelson's expressive art mixed with Lincoln's actual words create a powerful story that is weaved together by Rappaport's concise narrative.

This would be a great read aloud or addition to a larger unit on presidents, slavery, or leadership. Individual pictures could also be used as writing prompts.
From the front cover to the back cover and every page in between, it is easy for the reader to get caught up in the beauty of the artwork. Every page is rich with texture, feeling and expression. The picture of the chained slaves evoked so much emotion from me when I first saw it, that it took me several minutes before I could turn the page. I felt like I had been swallowed by the picture.

The text provides two different stories. The first story is Abraham Lincoln's biography, providing facts an
Mar 06, 2013 CH13_Kieran rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
This is a beautiful representation of one of the greatest Americans. The artwork is breathtaking and takes the reader into Lincoln's world of anger and resentment. It shows Mr. Lincoln as the ever-present representation of morality and wisdom. This biography of Abraham Lincoln shows his meager upbringing and his rise to great power through the sheer power of personality and words.

Abe's Honest Words tells his story in a wonderfully simplistic manner that is approachable to young kids. On every p
L- Lisa
Mar 10, 2010 L- Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, biography
Abe’s Honest Words, The Life of Abraham Lincoln tells the history of our 16th president from his birth in Kentucky to his assassination in 1865. The author tells the story, inserting Lincoln’s words from speeches throughout. This gives the reader and listener a close connection to the man and the sequence of events during this memorable time. This audio is very powerful to listen to, as the voice changes from storyteller to what we believe to be Lincoln. The illustrations by Kadir are paintings ...more
Alexandra Mauger
Plot Summary: This book discusses the life of Abraham Lincoln and includes quotes by him throughout the story. Ever since Abraham was young, he liked to read books and learn, even while we was working. During his various jobs as an adult, he listened to the words and stories of others and hated seeing black people used as slaves. He soon became an honest lawyer and spoke out against slavery often. A few years later, he became president and tried to keep the northern and southern areas of the cou ...more
Aug 07, 2016 Martin added it
Title: Abe’s Honest Words
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Genre: Biography K-2
Theme(s): Abraham Lincoln, president, United States, slavery, determination, Civil War

Brief Book Summary:
A biography of Abraham’s Lincoln life from his poor boyhood to his presendial nomination to his heroic efforts to abolish slavery and save the union.

Professional Recommendation/Review #1:
Ian Chipman (Booklist, Jun. 1, 2008 (Vol. 104, No. 19))
Starred Review* This collaboration between Rappaport and
Kayla Ross
Title: Abe’s Honest Words
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Genre: Biography (grades 1-2)
Theme(s): History, courage, and leadership
Opening line/sentence: “In the slave state of Kentucky, deep in the wilderness, young Abraham learned to hunt for nuts and currants and fish for trout and bass and tend to soil and seed.”
Brief Book Summary: This amazingly illustrated and written book about Abraham Lincoln will capture students’ attention as they are whisked away into the late 1800s dur
Ryan Hercik
Title: Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Genre: Biography 3-5
Theme(s): History: Civil War, Reconstruction, Slavery, Presidency, leadership
Opening line/sentence: In the slave state of Kentucky, deep in the wilderness, young Abraham learned to hunt for nuts and currants and fish for trout and bass and tend to soil and seed.
Brief Book Summary: Abraham Lincoln’s life is discussed through how he grew up until the many important decisions
Mar 17, 2015 M.cholewick rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-bios
Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln is a biographical picture book about our 16th President. It contains the most vibrant, detailed, authentic, and powerful illustrations I have ever seen in a children’s book. The images have an almost 3-d appears, really popping out to readers. One of the best features of this text is the insertion between the factual information about Lincoln and the direct quotes from Lincoln throughout his life. For example, when the southern states began to leav ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Toby rated it really liked it
Timely, Kadir Nelson's gorgeous paintings flesh out this portrait (not biography) of Abraham Lincoln, in time for the 200th anniversary of his birth. The focus of the book is on his words, and through his words, his impact. 2009 is a good time to reread and think again about his iconic speeches, including the Gettysburg Address, which is reprinted in its entirety at the end of the book.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
What can I's Doreen Rappaport and Kadir Nelson. What incredible and stunning paintings by Nelson. And Rappaport strings together historical information with Lincoln's words in supporting text.
Katelyn Krigbaum
The book Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln outlines the story of Abraham Lincoln's life and the obstacles he faced to become the man we all know. It talks about how he diligently worked to learn as much as he could even with his limited resources and learning tools. However, the trails he faced didn't stop him, he strongly believed in equality and would do whatever he could to make sure that happened. The illustrations also compliment the text really well and both the text and the ...more
Emily Benner
Plot summary: This picture book biography is about the life of Abraham Lincoln. It starts by describing where Abraham grew up and how at an early age he lost his mother, however, his stepmother was a huge impact in the continuation of his childhood. Some pages throughout the book have little quotes or excerpts from Abraham Lincoln. It followed him through his young adult years with his struggles and good times he experienced. It talks about how he ran in elections and became a lawyer, which is w ...more
Noah Graves
Apr 28, 2016 Noah Graves rated it really liked it
Abes Honest Words is an inspiring book that takes place back during slavery. Abe Lincoln knew that slavery was wrong and he filled his mind with knowledge of books on history, math, science, and so on. Abes honesty about how the world was gave him the opportunity to become president because so many trusted this honest man. It was because he was honest that people voted for him to be president. Abe Lincoln started the revolution of how every man was created equal and therefore will be one of the ...more
Madeline Bergstrom
Jun 26, 2016 Madeline Bergstrom rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alexis Fiore
Apr 29, 2014 Alexis Fiore rated it it was amazing
The illustrations were amazing and so beautiful to look at! This book was also a great source to learn about Abraham Lincoln. It covers majors events that have happened in his life and his hard fight to free slaves. I loved reading his quotes and how life changing his words were. I learned a lot from this book and I know all students would as well. There is all a timeline at the end of the book that goes over even more events and hardships in his life. This book made learning about history fun a ...more
Mary Ann
This stirring book captures the span of Lincoln's life, the strength of his words and convictions, and the dignity in his stance - all in a way that a child just growing into an awareness of our nation's history can grasp. It is a beautiful book, one that you'll want to have at home to come back to again and again.

Starting with Lincoln's humble beginnings, Rappaport traces his journey from the rural slave state of Kentucky to the statehouse in Illinois, to the nation's capital. Kadir Nelson's il
Nov 10, 2010 N_katieg52 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-bios
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” These are famous words spoken by the twelfth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. This is a unique biography of Lincoln where it truly focuses on words he spoke. The words are separated into times of his life and facts are given. I am a history person, but I think everyone will enjoy this book. Sometimes we ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Traci rated it it was amazing
“Abe’s Honest Words” by Doreen Rappaport tells the story of Abraham Lincoln. Rappaport also wrote “Martin’s Big Words”, and this book resembles it very closely. This book begins when Abraham was young and saw slavery first hand and knew from an early age that slavery was not right. It goes into detail how Lincoln rose from a simple man to become President on the United States and fight to end slavery. As with “Martin’s Big Words” this book compels the reader to become engaged with the story and ...more
karrie's corner
From the front cover to the back cover and every page in between, it is easy for the reader to get caught up in the beauty of the artwork. Every page is rich with texture, feeling and expression. The picture of the chained slaves evoked so much emotion from me when I first saw it, that it took me several minutes before I could turn the page. I felt like I had been swallowed by the picture.

The text provides two different stories. The first story is Abraham Lincoln's biography, providing facts an
Oct 26, 2010 RachelAnne rated it it was ok
(2.6) Having lived all my life in Illinois, I am rather sick of heroic, honest Abraham Lincoln, through no fault of his own. Kadir Nelson's lushly luminous paintings are by far the highlight of a book that takes a very predictably patriotic and laudatory view of Lincoln, the homespun national saint. By focusing on a series of quotations from Lincoln's life, Rappaport focuses on the public, political Lincoln, leaving aside his personal life. This makes the text both more digestible for young read ...more
Dec 03, 2012 Cherry rated it it was amazing
"Abe's Honest Words" by Doreen Rappaport is an amazing history book for children (Ages 8 and up). Along with the illustrator Kadir Nelson, this book reeled me in, the images were vibrant and expressive accordingly to the text. This book talks of his early life as he grew up, the background of his family, how he educated himself, the few attempts before he became president, the Civil War, Slavery until he got assassinated. In italic letters after the 3-4 sentences per page seemed to be quoting Ab ...more
Grace Baker
Apr 07, 2016 Grace Baker rated it really liked it
I loved the layout of this book. The little quotes from "Abe" himself, the pictures in this story, the message and truth behind it.

Well written story, that a young kid would be able to read and understand the meaning behind it, which is important.

I would recommend this story to anyone just to look at Abe's life in a short scale and some factors that went into his life. I hope you like it, too!
Jill Wolf
Apr 04, 2016 Jill Wolf rated it really liked it
Shelves: informational
Informational #9
This book is about Abraham Lincoln and his efforts and accomplishments throughout his life. The biggest thing that the book discusses Lincoln's role in ending slavery and promoting freedom and liberty for all. This book has great illustrations that really show the message of the story and how important of an impact Abraham Lincoln had on the United States.
Travis Miller
Apr 16, 2014 Travis Miller rated it really liked it
This book takes us through the life of one of our greatest presidents. The pictures and the words merge perfectly to give us a glimpse into his life. It is a children's book but the information isn't childish. It also uses quotes from Abraham to extend the story as well. I would use this in a classroom to introduce Abraham in a new way that is different from traditional texts.
Jun 11, 2014 Cathi rated it really liked it
This is a terrific children's book! It has large, beautiful illustrations, simple-but-informative text, accompanied by Lincoln's own words on every other page. I enjoyed the quotes, the interesting information (and even learned a new fact from it), and especially loved Kadir Nelson's wonderful illustrations. In fact, now I want to find more of Nelson's books.
Taylor Lane
I really think that this is a great children's book that would help to introduce a history unit on the different presidents. Since this specific book uses such amazing drawings, it would really help to grab the students attention and help to understand the differences in todays society and compare it to the minimal amount of things they had during Abe Lincoln's time. Since this book focuses on the struggles that Lincoln had to go through in order to finally win the presidential election, student ...more
Courtney Siepman
Dec 14, 2015 Courtney Siepman rated it really liked it
This book would be a more enjoyable was for students to learn about Abraham Lincoln. This can be used when the students learn about the presidents. The illustrations are lifelike and bring the whole book together. This would also work for older students by providing a different medium for the students to learn through.
April Culwell
May 06, 2016 April Culwell rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I thought the art was beautiful. I thought the text was informative. I would agree that it should be available to students in schools. Although I'm not a fan of picture books, I did enjoy seeing the artwork that is used to show Abraham Lincoln's life. I also liked the set up of the pages.
Kori Deemer
May 04, 2016 Kori Deemer rated it it was amazing
I chose to read this book because my ten year old cousin was ranting about how much she loved Abe Lincoln and I thought it'd be fun to read and chat with her about it. The book didn't disappoint. Even though I thought I was well educated on Lincoln this book still gave me a ton of interesting information on Him.
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Doreen Rappaport has written many books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, specializing in thoroughly researched multicultural history, historical fiction, retellings of folktales and myths, and stories of those she calls the "not-yet-celebrated." Among her recent books is MARTIN'S BIG WORDS: THE LIFE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received a Caldecot ...more
More about Doreen Rappaport...

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