It’s Up to You, Abe Lincoln: How I Made the Biggest Decisions of My Life – Tom & Leila Hirschfeld

 It’s Up to You, Abe Lincoln: How I Made the Biggest Decisions of My Life – Tom & Leila Hirschfeld, Crown Books for Young Readers; (9780553509533), 2018

Format: hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

What did you like about the book? This book, the first in a series by the father-daughter pair, examines ten big decisions Abe Lincoln made in his life and argues that his choices are what made him such a fantastic president. Written in 2nd person, giving the reader the chance to be in Lincoln’s shoes, each chapter ends with a question and four options for action — which choice will you make? Then the book goes on to share Lincoln’s decision and the aftermath. The book comes across as funny, while still imparting a lot of information in each chapter. “Didya know”s and “Fun fact”s are included throughout the book, as well as images of pertinent people, usually with speech bubbles saying something funny. Readers won’t be able to help imagining what could have happened if Lincoln had made different choices and they will come away impressed by his honesty, dedication and practical nature. The end of the book includes a timeline, a who’s who, Lincoln’s “historic firsts,” jokes he played during his life, famous passages from his speeches and an extremely fun section that posits how Lincoln would react to various inventions from the last 150 years (he would love texting and emojis).

Overall, this is a highly readable, very funny biography that belongs on all elementary and middle school shelves. Given that there are already lots of Lincoln biographies out there for this age group, that’s high praise. I can’t wait to see the rest of the books in the series!

To whom would you recommend this book?  History buffs won’t be able to put this book down!

Anything you didn’t like about it?  My only quibbles are that there is no index and I wish the authors had used the phrase “enslaved person” instead of slave.

Who should buy this book? All elementary and middle school libraries should purchase this book.

Where would you shelve it? nonfiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you’re a history person, then yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date reviewed: January 18, 2019

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