Teaching History with Children’s Literature: What Lincoln Said


What Lincoln Said written by Sarah L. Thomson and illustrated by James E. Ransome, is a great way to introduce younger children to this important historical figure. The text is kept simple and story-like and the illustrations are colorful and engaging.

The author uses Lincoln’s own famous words and expands on them to tell the story of his life.  We learn how Lincoln grew from a hard working boy,  “I could scarcely believe my eyes, he said. By honest work I had earned a dollar,” into a harder working lawyer, “Leave nothing for tomorrow that can be done today, he advised. Resolve to be honest at all events.”  The author explains that Lincoln became president during a difficult time for our country.  “Several southern states decide to break away from the country. They wanted to make a new nation where slavery would always be legal.” Lincoln opposes slavery and the civil war, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.”  However, he cannot stop war from breaking out. After two years of fighting Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation so that slaves would be “forever free.” At the end of the book the author provides more detailed information about Lincoln and slavery as well as a timeline of the events of his life.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a nice companion when learning about Abraham Lincoln. It is suitable for the 1st through 3rd grade classroom. The concepts included in the book integrate well with lessons where students will describe the stories of American leaders and their contributions to our country (SOL 1.2).

Additional Resources

Author: Sara L. Thomson
James E. Ransome
Publication Date:
Grade Range:

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