What Lincoln Said

Common Sense Media says

An introduction to Abe Lincoln in his own words.





What parents need to know

Educational value

An age-appropriate introduction to Lincoln.

Positive messages
Not applicable
Positive role models

Abe Lincoln is a hero for good reason. As examples go, he's one to follow.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book brushes over the issue of slavery in the actual narrative but goes into it a little further in the section written for parents. Adults can choose how much to share with their kids, but this book might be a good, careful introduction to a deeper discussion about an upsetting part of our nation's history.

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What's the story?

Lincoln's childhood, early career, and presidential challenges are summed up for the picture book crowd by pulling some of his quotes and then expanding on their context. It's a useful way to introduce kids to an important historical figure accurately without sacrificing entertainment. Kids also get a snapshot of a difficult time in our nation's history in an age-appropriate way that leaves room for parents to share further if they wish.

Is it any good?


The author organizes the book well and is able to present a lot of information in a very small space. But it's the illustrations that make the book a standout. Cartoonish without being silly, the pictures are lively and colorful and do a great job of humanizing the man behind the history.

There's room for greater discussion around the issue of slavery, but the choice seems deliberate on the part of the author. While the slaves in the book are African-American, the author never specifically talks about the racism behind the institution of slavery.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what made Lincoln such a great leader. They could also write a bio about another American hero by finding quotes and drawing pictures to tell the story the way the author has done here.

Book details

Author:Sarah Thomson
Illustrator:James Ransome
Genre:Historical Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:December 23, 2008
Number of pages:32
Read aloud:4
Read alone:8

This review of What Lincoln Said was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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