Winter -- President's Day

.  Photos by Jennifer Ashabranner.  Great American Memorials.     
    Brookfield, CT:  Twenty-first Century/Millbrook, 2002.  64p.  0-7613-1524-1;
    lib.bdg., $25.90    Gr. 3+     975.3

    The Ashabranners, father and daughter, begin with a personal note about being in Washington D.C. during the Fourth of July celebration in 2001 to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence then move on to the history of the birth of our nation.  There is information about George Washington and early efforts to create a memorial to honor him that the Continental Congress passed in 1783.  The War of 1812 curtailed those efforts.  Construction began again in 1848 when the cornerstone was laid but construction stopped when they ran out of money in 1854 due to the Know-Nothing party.  The Civil War also delayed the project and the incomplete monument stood neglected for years until the nation was preparing for its centennial.  The federal government took over the project and the dedication was in 1884.  There are black and white photos of alternative designs and color pictures of views from other historic places like the Lincoln Memorial as well as pictures of those other memorials.  Aphotos include the monument and the crowd who heard Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.   Statistics, visitor information, a bibliography of 15 books, and an index complete the book.  This is an important addition to school and public libraries that will be important for its historic and geographical value or for celebrating Washington’s birthday.  
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Grapes, Bryan J., ed.  FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT.  Presidents and their Decisions    
    series.  San Diego: Greenhaven, 2001.  256p.  0-7377-0504-3; lib.bdg., $32.45
    0-7377-0503-5; pb., $21.20   Gr. 5-10+     973.917   or   92 

    Pages 12-46 are devoted to a biography of FDR that includes his public service. Then each chapter is devoted to a topic essays are included by people with differing viewpoints on how he handled key decisions.  Topics include the New Deal, the Supreme Court packing plan, World War II, and treatment of minorities including African Americans, the Japanese threat, and Jewish refugees.  Care is taken to include background on the social, political, and economic factors he faced.  The appendix includes 17 speeches or executive orders.  There is a chronology, bibliography, and index.  Other presidents in the series include  Clinton, L. Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan.  Any curriculum that includes study of the twentieth century needs these books for support.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Holzer, Harold, comp.  ABRAHAM LINCOLN THE WRITER:
    Illus. with photos.  Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills, 2000.  107p.   1-56397-772-9; hb.,
    5.95    99-66551 Gr. 6+    973.7   or   810

     In the introduction, readers learn that Lincoln had the Lincoln-Douglas debates printed as a book because he wanted his views known and not thrown out with the newspapers.  He also wrote his speeches with an eye to publication.  Excerpts from five of those debates are included as well as 11 from his Illinois years, 1825-1860 and 15 from his White House years, 1861-65.  Lincoln's more famous speeches are included in the book:   "House Divided," " Gettysburg  Address," and "Emancipation Proclamation."   With more emphasis being placed on primary sources, this book is an excellent purchase for middle, high school, university, and public library collections.   The photos themselves come from the beginning of photography and reflect that quality.  Also useful are a chronology, index, and list of 13 places to visit connected with Lincoln.
     Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

Murphy, Patricia J.  OUR NATIONAL HOLIDAYS.  Let's See series.
    Minneapolis:  Compass Point, 2001.  24p.  0-7565-0194-6; lib.bdg., $18.60
    2001-004484    Gr. 1-2    394.26

    After an explanation of a national holiday, including our first one, Independence Day; six other holidays are explained with a photo on one page and an explanation on the other.  The holidays, in order by month, are:  Martin Luther King , Jr. Day; Presidents' Day; Memorial Day; Columbus Day; Veterans Day; and Thanksgiving.  There is a glossary of five terms, three points in the "Did You Know?" section, and a bibliography section called "Want to Know More?" that includes three books, two web sites, and addresses for Plimoth Plantation and Independence National Historical Park  An index concludes the book.  Because many businesses are closed on Christmas and there is no mail delivery, it could be considered a national holiday.  However, the definition, "On national holidays, Americans celebrate their history" excludes religious holidays. This is an easy-to-read book about our historical holidays.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

    Illus by Gwen Connelly.   Brookfield, CT:  Millbrook, 2001.  32p.  0-7613-1813-5;
    lib.bdg., $21.90  00-066428   Gr. K-4    394.26

    The text begins with information about the holiday and explains why we celebrate it.  Two-page bibliographies of Washington and Lincoln follow.  Basic information is presented in question format:  who can be elected, what powers do they possess, why Washington, DC is the capital, who was the first to live in the White House, some children who lived there, some famous first ladies, and what some of the presidents did after office.  A project for making a George Washington button with a secret code in it is described at the end of the book.  Spy messages to the General were sent in hollowed out wooden buttons as first introduced by a Philadelphia family called Darragh.
    The end papers each have six riddles about presidents.  Because many of them are older reworked riddles, they can be used to teach the art of riddle making.  The illustrations are child appealing and, for the most part, help the text except that Jacqueline Kennedy and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter do not look like them.  There is little on this holiday besides biographies of the two presidents, so this book is a welcome addition to school and public libraries.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library media specialist

    New York: Holiday, 2001.  147p.  0-8234-1571-6; hb., $22.95  00-048226 
    Gr. 4-9        92  or   973.4

    After reading two thousand letters written by the John and Abigail Adams, a gifted writer tells the story of America’s beginnings through their lives.  John began as a lawyer who rode circuit from one district courthouse to another.  Their first letters, according to the custom of the day were signed by their mythological names.  The couple began their correspondence before they were married in1764 when she was almost 20 and he was 29.  For much of their life the couple lived apart, once for five straight years.  The couple were apart when John was a delegate to the First (1774) and Second (1775) Continental Congresses.  John and son Johnny (John Quincey) left for Europe in1778 where John was negotiating with the French and later John was first American ambassador to the Netherlands, while he was negotiating the Peace treaty in Paris.  Abigail joined him when he was appointed the first American ambassador to Great Britain.
    Their first years of marriage were spent raising children and becoming active in patriotic causes.  When the British passed the Stamp Act, John denounced it.  While on the Massachusetts General Court, John was lawyer for the British soldiers who killed civilians at the Boston Massacre.  John wrote “The die is cast” when the Boston Tea Party and the retaliatory Coercive Acts happened.  “John nominated George Washington as commander in chief…was a key player in establishing the American navy and the corps of marines.”
    The couple had their share of sorrow in their personal lives.  A child was stillborn.  Son Charles was an alcoholic who abandoned his family and died at age 30.  Daughter Nabby died of breast cancer at age of 48.   There were also political disappointments.  John was not as charismatic as Ambassador Benjamin Franklin while they were in Paris wooing the French.  As first ambassador to Great Britain, he was unable to gain trade concessions from them and because of his ten years abroad, people called him “His Rotundity,”  puppet of the French, and called Abigail “Her Majesty.”   There were estrangements from friends because of politics, Mercy Warren and Thomas Jefferson, which were fortunately made up before it was too late.  There was the political treachery  of Alexander Hamilton.  John lost the presidency to Jefferson and although their politics were very different, he had to serve as Vice President.  Adams was not reelected and when he left office, people did not visit him like they did Washington.  Abigail died 7 years before her son became President of the U.S. and her husband outlived her.
    An interesting sidelight was that Johnny was a child in arms when his mother took him to watch the Battle of Breed’s Hill.  He went with his father to Paris and at age 13 he accompanied his father’s friend, Francis Dana, who was appointed to represent the U.S. in Russia and became Dana’s secretary because he spoke French, the common language with the Russians.  At age 17 he lived with his parent s in London where his father was ambassador, graduated from Harvard, became a U.S. Senator, American ambassador to Russia and later Great Britain, Secretary of State for Monroe, and then president.  
    St. George says, “Abigail and John were equal partners.  They were partners in raising their children.  They were partners in sharing their joy in good times and upholding each other in times of sorrow.  Now they would be partners in sharing their talents to serve the country they loved.”  “John and Abigail’s letters to each other were more than exchanges of affection, family news and political reports.  They were life-and love-sustaining.”  This is a good addition to collections where history of early America is needed, especially contributions of women.  
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library media specialist

Santella, Andrew.  JAMES EARL CARTER JR.  Profiles of the Presidents.     
    Minneapolis:  Compass Point, 2003.  64p.  0-7565-0283-7; lib.bdg., $23.90  
    2002-003031     Gr. 3-6       973.926   or   92

    This biography of a 20th century president begins will his unknown status and attributes Carter’s election to his many speeches and hand shakings, confidence, hard work, and Nixon’s resignation and voter loss of faith in politicians.   The biography returns to his childhood, grade school, high school, and appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy.  Because of World War II, Carter’s class graduated in three years and he chose to work on submarines.  Carter left his new wife behind when he left for war.  Carter was in the navy for eight years until his father died and he came back to take over the family farm and business.  As a community leader, Carter took an unpopular stand on segregation.  Some offices he held were school board, Georgia state senate, and governor.  To prepare for the presidency, Carter became chairman of the Democratic National Campaign Committee.  His campaign theme was “A leader, for a change.”  Carter defeated Ford in a close election and appointed many African-Americans to important positions.  He pardoned draft evaders during the Vietnam War which allowed people who left the country to return to the U.S., worked on human rights around the world, prepared a treaty to return the Panama Canal to Panama, improved relations with China, brokered a peace treaty in the Middle East between Sadat and Begin, worked on an energy plan, and worked on an arms treaty with the Soviet Union that never became a treaty because the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.  The role of the hostages taken in Iran and Carter’s refusal to return the ill Shah to Iran, Ted Kennedy’s candidacy, and Reagan’s popularity lost him the 1980 election.  However, Carter continued to work to free the hostages and they were freed on Reagan’s first day in office.
    Space is devoted to Carter’s service to the country and the world after leaving office: The Carter Presidential Center of Emory University in Atlanta to promote democracy, human rights, and health care throughout the world; supervising world elections; building houses for Habitat for Humanity; and publishing books.  The book ends with a photo of Jimmy and Rosalyn receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  The glossary includes words highlighted in the text.  At the end of the book there are statistics about his personal and public life as well as selected books written by him, a list of cabinet members, a time line of his life in one column and world events in another, and election results. A list of five book, five web sites, and three addresses of historic sites are given.  A list of U.S. presidents with years in office and an index conclude the book. 
    There is a color or black and white photo on almost every page and the text is large enough and the vocabulary is easy enough for fast reading.  This biography is recommended for school and public libraries.  
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

  New York:  Clarion, 2000.  88p. 
    0-395-91682-8; hb., $16.00    00-027576    Gr. 4-9+    973.7   or     92

    Sullivan takes a different approach to this popular president; he shares Lincoln through his photos and portraits.  Photography had just been invented when Lincoln had his first portrait in 1846 with a daguerreotype.  In order to reproduce likenesses, engravers made wood blocks or stone lithographs based on the photos and used them for newspapers, magazines, fliers, postcards, posters, medals, and campaign buttons.  Many engravings were based on Hesler’s photo of Lincoln with the uncombed hair, which became known as the “Wigwam print.”  Many of the other photos had names like the Cooper Union likeness that was distributed for the campaign of 1860.  Family portraits were included as well as mementos after Lincoln’s death. 
    People interested in postage stamps and coins will also be interested in this book that contains information about Lincoln’s likenesses for those mediums.  The first Lincoln penny was produced in 1909 and pictures of both sides are shown.  A large 2000 Lincoln penny appears on the back cover of the book.  Information about the five-dollar bill portrait is included--both the old one and the new one introduced in 2000.   There are chapter notes, a list of a dozen books, and an index that uses italic numbers to refer to illustrations or captions.   The writing is smooth, the illustrations are clear, and the book can be read all the way through or just selected areas of interest.  This book has many uses; it is a good book for Presidents’ Day, history, elections, biography, stamps, and coins.  Purchase for school and public libraries. 
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as a school library/media specialist

[ To the top of this page ]

[Back to Winter Holidays] | [ SPC Homepage ] | [ ]