If I was making a list of all of the people I admire, Abraham Lincoln and Maira Kalman would both be on it. And here they are together. It’s almost more than I could wish for. Obviously, the two of them are in totally separate departments of my “admiration list.” Abraham Lincoln was the President during the Civil War and he had a face that, as Kalman points out, you “could look at forever.” Maira Kalman is an artist and illustrator with a unique and recognizable (Matisse-like) style. She has done many covers for The New Yorker.
Last year Kalman published a book called And the Pursuit of Happiness about America. The book was based on her New York Times blog, and when the entries were published in a single volume, I bought one for myself – and a few other copies to give as gifts. It’s one of my favorite books, and when I get discouraged about the direction of our country, I open Kalman’s book for inspiration. And now…there is a new book, a picture book about Abraham Lincoln. Looking at Lincoln is going to be in the children’s section of the book store and library, but go find it and celebrate President’s Day by reading this book. Looking at Lincoln is not your standard Lincoln biography, but there are certainly enough others to choose from if that’s what you’re looking for. In fact, Kalman’s book is a bit quirky, but when you finish reading it, you’re tempted to take a trip to Washington D.C. and stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
By the way….if, after reading Kalman’s book, you decide to read a biography of Lincoln, get Russell Freedman’s Newbery-winning book, Lincoln: A Photobiography.