Thank you for inviting me to share this story on your blog, Lynne! Here’s my story about how this book came to be.
As an Illinois native, I’ve always admired Abraham Lincoln. In 2013, I read an adult biography about Lincoln and it struck me that there were still so many interesting stories about our sixteenth president that could be shared. I explored further and visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and other historic sites in Springfield, Illinois and also interviewed the presidential historian there at the time. The more I learned, the more I wanted to share these fresh and different stories about this famous leader. Most young readers know the basic framework of Lincoln’s life, so I found a way to build on that in a fresh and interesting way.
BUT, I needed to make my book different from the oodles of books that have written about our 16th president. My book is unique in that it celebrates superlatives, which most kids find fascinating. They enjoy learning about who is the tallest, the first at something, or the best at accomplishing a particular milestone. And each story about Lincoln is told through poetry—there are nineteen poems in this 48-page picture book. For example, you’ll learn why Lincoln was the “Most Distracted Farmer” when he was a young man, that he was known as the “Best Wrestler” in the county and had the “Most Surprising Friendship” with another famous icon.
Poetry provides the reader with an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect. Using lyrical language, sound, rhythm, and form, a poem can engage a reader in a very special way. Additionally, most poems are bite-sized morsels and include plenty of white space on the page. That space allows readers to think and dream about the topic, providing room to form their own connections.
I hope that young readers will relate to these stories about our sixteenth president and will also consider how Lincoln’s actions and wisdom apply to our world today.
The book has been chosen as an Illinois READS 2021 selection and it also won a Silver Medal in the Florida Book Awards, Older Children’s Literature category. I hope readers enjoy these stories about Lincoln, and think about ways in which they, too, are superlative!
The Superlative A. Lincoln: Poems About Our 16th President (Charlesbridge); Sweet Dreams, Wild Animals, and other titles. Eileen loves visiting schools and speaking to gatherings of fellow writers, educators and librarians. Eileen is a long-time member of SCBWI and has volunteered in many roles over the years. Eileen and her husband split their time between Illinois and North Florida and have three sons. For more information and to contact Eileen, please visit www.EileenMeyerBooks.com.
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