We’re spending this week learning a little about the presidents. I love Judith St. George and I love David Small as an illustrator. And our first book of the week doesn’t disappoint. It’s a fun look at all the presidents and a great intro for young children. There is a lot of quirky trivia. (How many presidents were named James? Which had a goat as a pet? Which one played the flute?) But it also has a lot of solid factual information tucked in amongst the silliness.
This book by Jane O’Connor has a similar feel as So You Want to be President? but it focuses on Presidential family life in general and life in the White House more specifically. It was a little long for David but John got a kick out of reading all the details. It’s another light introduction to the Presidency for this age group.
This book by Deborah Chandra and Madeline Comora traces what happened to George Washington’s teeth as they fall out one by one. The book is told in rhyme and the illustrations add to the light-hearted approach. Like the other books mentioned here there is a lot of stealth learning going on at the same time. As the teeth fall out, we follow events in George’s life. The authors based the book on actual letters and diaries and provide a time-line at the end for older kids and adults interested in learning more about our first President’s dental woes.
Anne Rockwell is one of my favorite authors for non-fiction books for young children. This book is quite a bit more in-depth than others I’ve read by her but it also has her trademark ability to take a subject and present it in a clear, interesting and accessible way for even very young kids. I like that this book begins with George Washington as a child and focuses more on those early years than other books I’ve seen about his life. (And no cherry trees!)
Kay Winters also focuses on a presidential boyhood in this book about Abe Lincoln. Really, with a subtitle of “The Boy Who Loved Books” I knew I was going to like this one. The illustrations are vivid paintings and the text is unusual, a free-verse style. It all works beautifully for a book that is a great introduction to the 16th president.
This book by Doreen Rappaport is probably best for older elementary kids as it deals more graphically with the topics of slavery and war. The author and the illustrator (Kadir Nelson) are the same team that gave us Martin’s Big Words about Martin Luther King. One of my favorite things about both books is the use of subject’s own words woven into the narrative.
This book by Rosemary Wells (yes, the same author as the fabulous Max and Ruby books) is a longer read-aloud. We did it over several days at lunch. Like many chapter books, it kept David’s attention marginally but it was great for John. Both boys could relate to the Lincoln boys who seemed in many ways like them. In that way, history came alive a bit for both of them. As a parent, I also gained a new appreciation for the man Lincoln was after reading about him as a Dad.
Head on over to Read Aloud Thursday at Hope Is The Word to see more of what people are reading with their kids.