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Mr. Lincoln's Way

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  828 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Mr. Lincoln is the coolest principal ever! He knows how to do everything, from jumping rope to leading nature walks. Everyone loves him . . . except for Eugene Esterhause. "Mean Gene" hates everyone who's different. He's a bully, a bad student, and he calls people awful, racist names. But Mr. Lincoln knows that Eugene isn't really bad-he's just repeating things he's heard ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published August 27th 2001 by Philomel Books
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Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia PolaccoPink and Say by Patricia PolaccoThunder Cake by Patricia PolaccoThe Keeping Quilt by Patricia PolaccoMr. Lincoln's Way by Patricia Polacco
Best of Patricia Polacco
5th out of 55 books — 45 voters
The Other Side by Jacqueline WoodsonPecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline WoodsonI Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.The Offenders by Jerry CraftSoul Looks Back in Wonder by Tom Feelings
The Culturally Relevant Bookshelf
101st out of 116 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mr. Lincoln's Way

I have recently stumbled on Patricia Polacco’s works when I saw an episode on “Reading Rainbow” entitled “Appelemando’s Dreams.” Well, “Mr. Lincoln’s Way” is the second book that I have read from Patricia Polacco!

Never have I read a children’s book that discusses prejudice in such a realistic and heartwarming manner as how Patricia Polacco portrayed it! Patricia Polacco had done a great job at both illustrating and writing this story and what I loved the most about this book was the character o
Lisa Vegan
Jan 14, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 6 or 7-11 year olds; to teach about tolerance and bullying; bird lovers
Well, this review is going to be about a bit more than this book because I just finished my Patricia Polacco project. I found and read my 1st Polacco book on 11/4/09 and finished with this one, my 51st, on 1/14/10; it’s not her most recently published book; that one is January's Sparrow. I’ve now read all 51 of the books thus far published by this author/illustrator.

First this book: I’m glad I ended on a high note. This is an excellent book about an elementary school principal who takes the tim
Sep 22, 2010 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kathryn by: Lisa Vegan--thank you!
What a warm, wonderful story! I always expect to be touched by Polacco's works and this is no exception. Mr. Lincoln is everything an educator should be--caring, perceptive, thoughtful, fun, wise and COOL! The feeling of acceptance and celebration for the students' diverse cultures and religions shines through the pages. Too bad "Mean Gene" is such a troublesome--and apparently racist--student. I think it is just so brave and so good the way Mr. Lincoln dealt with Gene's behavioral issues; inste ...more
NS Kelley
This is a wonderful story about the power of being nice to others. It is a story that focuses on a Principal, Mr. Lincoln and a troubled students, Eugene. Mr. Lincoln is friendly with all of his students and does his best to reach out to them in different ways. He discovers that one of his students, Eugene, is bullying others. Instead of taking a the more traditional approach in discipline, he decides to take the "what can I do to help change his behavior" approach. He figures out what Eugene li ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Another must-read for student teachers! In this story, a teacher appeals to a troubled child's natural talent and interests to draw him out into participating in school in a positive way. Outstanding and highly recommended!
In the bookMr. lincoln's way by:Patricia Polacco theres a school were theres a really mean kid Ugean accept people call him mean Jean and he is really mean to all the kids that aren't the same skin color as him....
Apr 30, 2014 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Patricia Polacco has such an ability to tackle tough subjects and tug at our heartstrings at the same time. I don't know how she does it, but I've come to prepare myself to cry each time I read one of her books.

In this story, she shows how the efforts of a caring principal turns a child around. We are given some foreshadowing in the front endpages of the book (view spoiler) and it really sets the reader
Lexus Beedy
Personal Reaction:
This book was entertaining and inspiring to read. It is a book I would definitely read to my students and I believe that all teachers should also read this book. At any age level we can be reminded that there is good in everyone.

This book would be appropriate for a read aloud of children between 3rd-4th grades.
While this book may have a focus around birds there is much more to take from it. Patricia Polacco tests limits in her children’s books that are real issues in
Mr. Lincoln's Way is a heart-touching realistic fiction book for grade levels 1-4, although its lesson is appropriate for audiences of all ages. Mr. Lincoln is everybody’s favorite principal. He takes the students on nature walks, has tea parties, and even sets up his telescopes for special star viewings. Everyone loves Mr. Lincoln, except for “Mean Gene,” the school bully. Yet Mr. Lincoln sees the best in every student, and finds a special way to connect with Eugene through his love of birds. A ...more
Sarah Nottingham
Mr. Lincoln's Way by Patricia Polacco is about the relationship between an African American Principle and a troubled Caucasian young boy, Eugene. At the beginning of the story, Eugene is having problems in school, bullying, and name-calling that is explicitly racist. The Principle, Mr. Linoln observed Eugene and decided there has got to be a way to help him. He discovers that Eugene loves birds. Mr. Lincoln talks to Eugene about birds and helping with atrium. This interest bird's creates a relat ...more
As is the case for most of her stories, Patricia Polacco bases this story of redemption on a true story. Mr. Lincoln, the school principal, is beloved by all because of his coolness and gentle but firm ways. He even reaches out to Eugene Esterhause (Mean Gene) who bullies and belittles everyone around him. After observing the boy looking at the birds in the school atrium, Mr. Lincoln uses Gene's interest in them to reach him, in the process, learns the reasons for the boy's taunts, bullying, and ...more
Mr. Lincoln's way was a book that incorporates a good moral message. The principle of this elementary school, Mr. Lincoln is a social and caregiving man who shows genuine love for the students of this school. He takes the time to help his students develop and understanding for other people. What I liked most about this book is that the used a principle versus a teacher to and the compassion instigator in this case. A principle has a big and busy role for the school and for the author to utilizes ...more
I enjoyed this story about how a principal was able to reach out and save a troubled kid, despite the boy's having been trained in hatred of people with darker skin. Using the many types and colors of birds as an analogy to diversity in people, Mr. Lincoln was able to teach this young boy that all people have value.
My Children's Lit professor read this to us and tried. I read it recently to my fourth graders (five boys) two of them were wiping their eyes and avoiding eye contact with the rest of the class.
Chloe' Diaz
I love this book! I feel it is an ideal book for an interactive read-aloud. This book promotes diversity and acceptance, which is definitely something teachers need to address as classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse. I also love that the principal in this book used funds of knowledge to integrate a student's interests into the curriculum! Finally, this book also explores social issues such as racism so this would be a great book to introduce before doing a persuasive writing unit on soci ...more
(NS) Laura Jackson
Mr. Lincoln is a principal and all of his students think that he is the best principal in the whole world. He did fun things with his students and they all thought he was “plain cool”. All of the students thought this except Eugene Esterhause. Eugene was known as “Mean Gene” and everyone at school thought he was a bully. He picked on students, called them names and always seemed mad. Mr. Lincoln didn’t think he was a bad boy just that he was troubled. Eugene was using racist words and Mr. Lincol ...more
(NS)Jennifer Reiner
At school, everyone believes that Eugene Esterhause is a bad person. He is trouble "with a capital T" and is referred to as "Mean Gene". Mr. Lincoln is the greatest principal in the whole world and he doesn't believe the same things as everyone else. When Eugene is caught calling an African-American first grader a racist name, Mr. Lincoln is focused on reaching the boy. Mr. Lincoln has Eugene help in getting birds into the school's new atrium. This is a project all of the fourth graders enjoy do ...more
Mr. Lincoln is a black principal for an elementary school. All the kids love him, other than one white kid (nicknamed "Mean Gene") who bullies the other kids, and calls anyone (including Mr. Lincoln) that isn't white derogatory names. Mr. Lincoln decides to figure out a way to reach Eugene to get him to behave better. As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that Eugene also has some trouble at home. The charming story of how he uses Eugene's love of birds to help him love other people is hea ...more
Genre: Picture book – Contemporary Realism

Summary: Mr. Lincoln, an African American principal of an elementary school reaches out to a young boy, Eugene Esterhause, who is being taught white supremacy from his father. Eugene’s nickname is “Mean Gene” and he has earned it through his constant bullying of classmates. Mr. Lincoln, invites Gene to help him with the school’s bird atrium and Eugene quickly learns what he has been taught about black people is false.

Literary Critique: (a.) Illuminates c
Kasey O'brien
Mr. Lincoln's Way is a great way to address a slew of issues that can arise within your classroom, including bullying, racism, and trouble at home. In it, Mr. Lincoln is a school principal, and one of his students, Eugene, is the school bully. One day when Mr. Lincoln is trying to work with Eugene, Eugene calls him the N word. As teachers, we know that Eugene doesn't know the impact of the words he's saying, and Mr. Lincoln knows that too. Instead of dealing out a harsh punishment, Mr. Lincoln n ...more
mr. Lincoln's way is in the genre of non- fiction and is intended for children ages 6-9 intermediate.

Mr. Lincoln’s Way is a story about a bully who overcomes his destructive ways. Eugene, the bully, terrorizes the students at his school and has no respect for his teachers. Mr. Lincoln, a much-beloved principal, is determined to help Eugene by giving him an alternative to bullying. Mr. Lincoln notices that Eugene has a love for birds and uses that to develop a positive relationship with him. Mr.
Paul Farbman
Apr 11, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: First to third grade
Mr. Lincoln's Way is a great story about the value of diversity, overcoming prejudice, and the relationship between a student and a principle.

There is a very imaginative form of symbolism used comparing all of the different colored birds in the atrium to the culturally diverse school community.

The illustrations appear to consist of watercolor and sketched pencil lines. This gives them a realistic yet blurred effect.
Polacco, Patricia. Mr. Lincoln’s Way. New York: Philomel Books, 2001. Print.
Mr. Lincoln’s Way is the story of an elementary of a Elementary school principal, who is African American, and a racist student, Eugene Esterhause. Eugene is caught picking on a kid and the beginning of the book and calling the student bad names, so Mr. Lincoln thinks of way he can connect with the student. They soon redo the atrium together so that birds can live there. Eugene soon becomes not so mean anymore.
Mr. Lin
Well-told story that veers close to being a "point" book but manages to stay above being preachy. The sage-like principal and the school bully he was able to unlock a learning pathway for make a dynamic pair. Birds in great variety and students also fill out the characters in the book. Polacco's illustrations with marker, pencil, and ? are expressively crafted. The illustration for the inside covers is a bit inscrutable until a little effort and reading the fly leaf uncovers that the adult teach ...more
Ms Threlkeld
A beautifully written and moving book about how much kids learn from adults, both positive and negative, and the impact we can have on others without truly realizing it. This would make a lovely read aloud for upper elementary grades and should spark some thoughtful conversations.
Erin Ingold
This is a great story to incorporate into a classroom! This story shows how a principal touches the lives of many students. It teaches the importance of equality and how we should treat all people the same. This is a great story to teach students about racism.
Mr. Lincoln is the principal of the school who everyone loves. Everyone except the school bully Eugene. Mr. Lincoln notices one day that Eugene likes birds and tries to reach him by asking for his help with an atrium. Eugene slowly starts to become happier and stops picking on the other students. The story goes through reaching out to others, even ones who may be difficult to reach. It also helps to show why someone may be acting the way they are and how racism can come into play, but how kindne ...more
Shahar Eden
This is a great story to read aloud to the class. It can be set as a story o a beginning of a unit that focuses on love and affection, or on patience, or anything that has to do with world peace.
Beautiful story of a principal helping to bring out the humanity in an angry, acting-out child. The child, who is white, expresses racial prejudice toward the principal who is African American. The principal responds with compassion and helps him to find something he is truly excited about, so that he feels like a part of the school community.

One thing that was difficult for me in reading this to my kids is that at one point the child starts to call the principal the "n-word" - he stops before a
Jennifer Amichia
This book was a call higher to me as an aspiring educator. Mr. Lincoln goes out of his way to help ONE student. The most convicting part is that Mr. Lincoln is a principal, not a teacher. This book tugged at me a lot as I turned the pages eager to see if it would be a triumph or tragedy. The reality is that students have issue apart from school; there are things going on at home that we may not know about. I hope that I will be just as aware of my students as Mr. Lincoln was. This is also a good ...more
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