Happy Birthday Abe and Chuck!

February 12, 2009

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin both turn 200 on February 12th.  Did you know they were born on the same day and year?  The publishing industry has been busy getting out as many Lincoln and Darwin books for all ages to celebrate the 200-year anniversary of their births!  Here are some titles to check out!

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman.  I’m reading this YA nonfiction book right now.  I was hooked from the opening which has the great Charles Darwin making a list of the pros and cons of getting married.  There were many reasons for Darwin to stay single…the freedom to travel when and where he wanted, the time to read and research without the burden of supporting a family emotionally and financially and not being required to visit and get along with in-laws.  He had a few reasons in the pros column…the most humorous being that a wife would be, “better than a dog anyhow.”  And Darwin loved his dogs!  I’ve only just started this book, but the writing is great and it is an enjoyable read, in addition to being informative.  Maybe even a possibility for the Mock Newbery.  The story is about how Charles and his first cousin and wife, Emma Wedgwood, were able to bridge the gap between her belief and faith in God and his scientific discoveries.  I hope others will read this and find it as interesting and fascinating as I am!

And if you’d like to juxtapose the Darwins’ relationship with the Lincolns’, check out Candace Fleming’s, The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary.

A Lincoln YA nonfiction that looks good is Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson, a YA version of his book for adults, Manhunt: the 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer.

For a beautifully illustrated biography of Lincoln, check out Dorreen Rappaport’s Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln ilustrated by Kadir Nelson.  A Darwin picture book biography for older readers new this year is One Beetle Too Many: the Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin.  And a 2008 picture book biography of Darwin with a great cover and lot’s of illustrations is Charles Darwin by Alan Gibbons.

For the younger set, Deborah Hopkinson’s Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale, a tale from Lincoln’s childhood  is getting great reviews.


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