Sunday, April 14, 2013

Abraham Lincoln Comes Home

Title:  Abraham Lincoln Comes Home
Author: Robert Burleigh
Illustrator: Wendell Minor
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, LLC
Genre: Biography
Level: Primary
Number of Pages: 32
Pub. Date: 2008
Summary:  Abraham Lincoln Comes Home is about a young boy who travels with his father in their buggy to the nearest train stop to make sure to be there when the train carrying Lincoln’s body passes by. As the train passes, they notice there aren’t alone and there are several others who have gathered there to pay their respects. When the train goes by, the young boy, Luke, noticed that his father is crying, which he has never seen before in his life. He waves as it leaves and they travel back home.
Critique:  This is a form of biography that falls under the category of biographical fiction. Lincoln’s body was really taken across the nation on a train so people could pay their respects, but there’s no evidence that Luke and his father were real people or that they traveled to go see the train at that location. It very well could be true because we do know that millions of people came to see the funerals and the passing train, but that is the only event we know for sure. A great feature of the book is that in the back of the book, the author gives a list of facts about Lincoln’s final travels before he was laid to rest. It shows a map of the train’s path from D.C. to Springfield, IL  and the 1,600 miles it traveled to get there. It also gives fact about how many people came to watch the train or one of the 12 funerals that were held along the way. Finally, it mentions the author’s sources and where you can find out more about this journey.
An important scene in the book
Response: In this book, I like how the author writes about this very tragic and sad event from a child’s perspective. It gives the story a lot of power while still using language and graphics that children can connect with. Thinking about how this book could be used in the classroom, it could be a passageway to talking about many things, including Presidents or even just death in general. There could be a lot of work with digging deeper into the perspectives of the characters, like what was the boy feeling when the train passed or what about the dad? We know that he was crying, but he didn’t speak any words. Thinking about the subtext, emotions like pride and upmost respect could also be intermingled with the sadness he is feeling for a great leader passing away. In addition to being a good book to get students thinking about perspective, there is also a fact sheet at the end from which I learned a lot about his body’s journey. One of the most interesting facts was that his son’s body, who died several years before him, was taken from its resting place to travel with his father to their final gravesites in Illinois. 

One the the trains used in the actual procession
Additional Information on Lincoln's Funeral Procession: 

"The Funeral Train of Abraham Lincoln ." Lincoln's Classroom . The Lincoln Institute , n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. <>.

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