Excellent Family Read Aloud: America’s 16th President

One of our favorite family pastimes is finding a good book for a family read-aloud. We have read many fabulous books over this last year and were searching for another good book when we were given the opportunity to review a book from YWAM Publishing  Heroes of History collection, Heroes of History- Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom written by Janet and Geoff Benge.

This is our second Heroes of History book that we have had the pleasure of reading. The collection includes 26 titles of various historical figures, providing a narrative of the hero’s life and coloring in the details of American History, bringing it to life for both young and old alike.

The 5×8 inch paperback book is a 218-page engaging historical story documenting the life of Abraham Lincoln. The first half is dedicated to his early life, before politics, allowing the reader to realize that he was a person just like you and I. He was a fairly average child for his time and faced many of life’s unexpected ups and downs. Although this is an easy read that could be read over a few sittings, our family took our time reading a chapter a night over the course of a few weeks.

Along with the book, we were provided a downloadable study guide ($5.49 value) that has helped us take our reading to an even deeper level. Included in the pdf files are three overviews providing an outline for using the book in a classroom, a group or in a homeschool setting. We, of course, used the 24-page Homeschool Overview which outlined ways for using the Heroes of History Program as a U.S. History curriculum, a supplement to other subject areas, or for family read-alouds. Also included is a 64-page Unit Study guide that includes chapter questions, project ideas, field-trip ideas, additional resources and more.

Most nights, Handsome would read Abraham Lincoln to our kids (7, 8, and 11), and me. We would pause periodically to talk about things as we went along. For example, one night we were reading about Abe’s $50 annual salary as a postmaster, at a time when mailing a sheet of paper thirty miles cost six cents! Although six cents does not seem like much, even the kids recognized the expense when it is compared to such a small salary of less than a single dollar per week. We also found it interesting to learn that unlike today, it was the letter recipients that paid for postage, not the sender. We appreciated this details which gave us a greater understanding of the overall time period.

After reading, we would look over the chapter questions from the study guide to facilitate further discussion. Although every question was relevant, our favorites were defining words and challenging each other to use them throughout the day: words like spittoon, droll, and erroneous.

We have enjoyed getting a chance to see Abraham Lincoln as more than just America’s sixteenth president. He was an average boy that suffered many losses in his life. He was also entrepreneurial, always thinking outside of the box and longing to do more with his life. He was known for his honesty and he was a remarkable leader.

At a mere $7.50 (YWAM pricing), these Heroes of History books are worth adding to your home library. The next one on our list to read is Orville Wright.

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