Like millions of other Americans this Thanksgiving weekend, I spent two and half hours with Abraham Lincoln. Of course, I knew he was a great president who saved the Union, but by the end of the movie, when Lincoln puts on his stovepipe hat to go to Ford’s Theater, I wanted to jump out of my seat and stop him from going. I felt as sad as if the horrible event had happened the day before.
I know this is not a movie review column, but seeing this amazing movie and watching Daniel Day Lewis so fully “become” Lincoln made me want to read more about the 16th President. Another thing I was thinking about after seeing the movie. Here was a President who was so incredibly certain of his moral positions. He did not waver from what he believed. Yes, he was a political operator, but completely in the service of his purpose.
If you want to introduce your children to President Lincoln, there are many wonderful books, including Russell Freedman’s Newbery Award-winning book, Lincoln: A Photobiography. Freedman’s book would be an excellent gift for a young history buff. It’s accessible, interesting and is a perfect combination of pictures and text.
For younger readers, check out Lane Smith’s new picture book, Abe Lincoln’s Dream. Funny and sweet, Smith’s story is about Quincy, a young girl on a school trip who sees the ghost of Lincoln. When the President asks Quincy about the State of the Union, she decides to take him on a little tour of life outside the White House. This is a wonderful book that is guaranteed to inspire an interest in American history.
I don’t usually enjoy standing in the cold waiting to buy a movie ticket, but there was something different about waiting to see Lincoln. All of us waiting outside were waiting to watch a person who believed in the “better angels of our nature.” It made me optimistic, a good feeling to have at Thanksgiving.