Teaching History with Children’s Literature: Abe Lincoln’s Hat


A history book with humor? Yes, it exists!  Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner is sure to be a classroom favorite. This book is full of facts about Abraham Lincoln but it presents them in a fun way.

Students will learn many things about Lincoln in Abe Lincoln’s Hat. The book begins with Abe as a lawyer and continues through his failed run at the U.S Senate, ending with him as a President fighting slavery.  What makes this book unique is that it does a great job describing Abe as a ‘real’ person. We learn that Lincoln loved jokes but more importantly, we learn that Abe Lincoln wasn’t perfect. Lincoln was very forgetful.  “Abe had an idea. His tall Hat! He could push letters deep inside it. He could stuff notes into the leather band. When he took off his hat, the papers would remind him what he had to do.” I think it is so wonderful for children to learn that important historical figures weren’t perfect.  

Abe Lincoln’s Hat is a great resource to teach kindergarteners and first graders about Abraham Lincoln (VA SOL K.1a and 1.2).  This book can be used to teach history, a little bit of geography (Lincoln is from Illinois), and has great potential for art projects.

Additional Resources:

  • This is a fun activity for a class that is learning about Abe Lincoln. The students make a log cabin out of pretzels and icing.
  • I really like this printable of Abe Lincoln’s hat with lines on it. The students can either write their own facts about Lincoln or they could cut and paste statements about Abe from a separate paper the teacher prepares.
  • Here is a lesson plan that uses the book Abe Lincoln’s Hat.

Book: Abe Lincoln’s Hat
Author: Martha Brenner
Illustrator: Donald Cook
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 48
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0679849773

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