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Mr. Lincoln's Way

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  1,046 Ratings  ·  131 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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Community Reviews

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Lisa Vegan
Jan 14, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Sep 11, 2010 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ronyell by: The Picture-Book Club
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
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!
Jesus Galindo
Nov 27, 2016 Jesus Galindo rated it liked it
A heart-warming story about a principal and a troubled student. This book can be potentially used to teach kids about love, patience, and kindness; however, this book should not be used to help children explore the concept of racism and its different forms. Countless online reviews claim that Patrica Polacco's work can help young children and adults tear down the racial barriers that exist in our country. Some critiques go as far as to argue that this book should be taught in all elementary clas ...more
NS Kelley
Oct 27, 2009 NS Kelley rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 01, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it
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
Andria Hall
Sep 25, 2016 Andria Hall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
Mr. Lincoln's Way is a beautifully written story by Patricia Polacco involving bullying, racism and how an act of kindness can change one's mind and heart. The story has captured how students can perceive and be perceived when it comes to hard to handle social situations. Throughout the text you are able to see how significant one person who listens and takes interest in a students/child's life can be. This is a great book to use as a read-aloud in the upper elementary classroom. The different t ...more
Nov 24, 2010 Sofia rated it it was amazing
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....
Robert Leabo
Mar 02, 2017 Robert Leabo rated it it was amazing
Mr. Lincoln’s Way, by Patricia Polacco. Published by Philomel Books in 2001. Guided reading: M; Lexile: 450 L. This could be used 2nd – 5th grade. 48 pages.

This story by Polacco deals with real themes we will encounter in schools as Mr. Lincoln, the principal, attempts to connect with Eugene, the bully. Everybody loves Mr. Lincoln, except for Eugene who hates everyone who is different and calls him horrible, racist things. But we learn it’s not really Eugene’s thoughts, but rather he simply repe
Feb 18, 2017 June rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tolerance requests
Recommended to June by: ?
Patricia Polacco does it again! The school principal might be too goo to be true, but this is a great book for present day. Eugene is a bully at school and is the only one who doesn't like the Principal. Everybody thinks Eugene is "Trouble," but the Principal wants to try and reach him. When he discovers Eugene's interest in birds he puts him in charge of attracting birds to the school's atrium. He is able to explain that God made all the birds with all their differences just like he made people ...more
Tyra Kornegay
Jan 27, 2017 Tyra Kornegay rated it it was amazing
Mr.Lincoln's Way was an amazing book to read! I was not expecting this book to be as deep and heartfelt as it was which is why I would label this a WOW book. The genre of this book is realistic fiction, because it dealt with a true story of a boy and principal in a school system. The principal (Mr.Lincoln) begins to make a connection with a student (Eugene Esterhalise) because he notices that he is having problems with different students as well as teachers in school. Eugene bullies other studen ...more
Sydney Funk
Nov 20, 2016 Sydney Funk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
• Mr. Lincoln is the coolest principal everyone loves when he has tea parties with the kindergarten class and goes on nature walks with the sixth grade class. When “Mean Gene” causes problems Mr. Lincoln finds a way to connect with Eugene over his love of birds. The book takes on the powerful topic of race in the school.
• 1st – 5th grades
• I would use this book in an English class or as a read aloud.
• Individual students that might benefit from this book include students like Eugene who hears
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
Apr 25, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
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
Sep 14, 2010 Karol rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 30, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: birds
I shelved this with 'birds,' which is a stretch. Birds are in the story but they're part of the background. The foreground is about race relationships, getting along with others, kindness, ... and other positive traits.

This is another one of those stories that I need to see from a child's point of view. Jeez, I wish the kids lived closer so we could have more read-aloud times!
Mar 08, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 21, 2016 Danielle rated it it was amazing
If only they were all like Mr. Lincoln.
Sierra Nikole
May 18, 2017 Sierra Nikole rated it it was amazing
Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco
This is the story of a Principal, Mr. Lincoln, who has a special place in his school, and a young boy in Mr. Lincoln’s school who is known as a trouble-maker and a bully. Over the course of a few months, Mr. Lincoln takes precious time to find out more about this boy. He talks to him about his likes and dislikes, and then physically uses his interests in birds to earn the boy’s attention and trust. Mr. Lincoln asks the boy simply to not fight anymore o
RLL22017Necole Jordan
May 20, 2017 RLL22017Necole Jordan rated it it was amazing
Mr. Lincoln's Ways was a great book. Mr. Lincoln is the principal that everyone loves except Eugene. Mr. Lincoln is cool and stylish but that doesn't matter to Eugene. "Mean Gene" is what they call him. He's a bully and has choice thoughts about other races. One day Mr. Lincoln notices Eugene looking out the window at birds which allows Mr. Lincoln to see that Eugene may take interest in birds. He reaches out to Eugene through birds and allows him to see that we are all like birds. We come in ma ...more
Jan 25, 2017 Lauren rated it really liked it
It was a really nice book for children to potentially see why bullies act so aggressive/mean (usually because of their home situation) and also to see that they are good underneath and can change. Mr. Lincoln was an amazing man who had the ability to influence young peoples' lives which is a nice inspiration and reminder to educators. It also shows how much it pays off to invest in students and their interests.
May 15, 2017 Donnell rated it it was amazing
This story is so touching, it can bring tears.
Amanda Walz
Mar 23, 2017 Amanda Walz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A great book on how a teacher/principal finds a way to connect with a student.
Nov 27, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it
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
Brooke Nelson
Feb 24, 2017 Brooke Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572-books
I thought this was a great realistic fiction picture book. I recently read this book and thought it was a great read, especially with what is going on in the world today. Mr. Lincoln's Way, shows us that we may all have differences, but we all have something about us that makes us special in our own way. This book allows the chance to teach students or children about bullying and racism, in a way elementary students are able to understand. I would use this book in a 3rd grade class to have and o ...more
Sarah Nottingham
Feb 25, 2015 Sarah Nottingham rated it really liked it
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
Keegan Thorpe
Feb 15, 2017 Keegan Thorpe rated it liked it
This story by Patricia Polacco first introduces Mr. Lincoln, the coolest principal around. Mr. Lincoln goes out of his way to make sure all of his students are represented and included. However, he notices Eugene, also known as "Mean Gene", who is bullying others and using racial slurs. Mr. Lincoln understands that Eugene may be acting out because of things he has heard at home from his father. In an attempt to change Eugene's bullying ways, Mr. Lincoln goes out of his way to help this student i ...more
Feb 15, 2015 MissKatherine rated it really liked it
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
Lexus Beedy
Feb 26, 2015 Lexus Beedy rated it it was amazing
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
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