Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship
Nikki Giovanni
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Henry Holt
ISBN: 9780805082647
Grades 2-5
In Stores



Does it feel like your Lincoln section is getting a bit crowded? This year hasn’t helped matters. 2009 is the 200th anniversary of the man’s birth and any time you look under your stovepipe hat (what – you don’t have one?), you find a new children’s book about Honest Abe. “Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship” examines the man through his relationship with African American leader Frederick Douglass. The focus on the connections between the two men and their shared vision of ending slavery, “Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship” earns a right to be on that crowded shelf.

The story begins on the night of Lincoln’s re-election celebration. Abe is looking for Douglass, whom he invited. Before they find each other, the story flashes back to the youth of both men. The narrator compares and contrasts their struggles and humble upbringings. When Lincoln was elected to the House of Reps, he met Douglass and a friendship developed. Both hated slavery. Eventually Lincoln is elected president and civil war breaks out. Flash back to the celebration, and Lincoln is finally united with his friend and they step outside to talk. While times are difficult, both men are hopeful for the future. A time line in the back helps clarify what happened when.

Finely illustrated in paper cut collage by Bryan Collier, the visuals of “Lincoln and Douglass” reflect the serious subject matter. Natural tones and slightly skewed perspectives abound.

With the recent surge in Lincoln titles, you may already have your fill. Try to make room. “Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship” is a solid addition to the mix.

Check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Picture Book of the Day.

Also reviewed by The Miss Rumphius Effect, Kids Lit.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

Listen to author Nikki Giovanni read from and discuss “Lincoln and Douglass” at Authors On Tour Live.