LINCOLN CLEARS A PATH is a fresh look at some of Abraham Lincoln’s amazing accomplishments. Written by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Stacy Innerst, this picture book examines how Lincoln’s life growing up in a farming community affected his presidency and his creation of the Department of Agriculture, the Homestead Act, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Thomas usues lyrical language to pull the reader into Lincoln’s early life and Innerst’s illustrations are evocative of sepia toned pictres from the time. This is a book that will capture the attention of students and the hearts of historians. It’s a book every library needs on its shelves. And every teacher is going to want to use the FREE activities and lessons created to accompany this great book. Click belwo for wfree worksheets and activities to accompany this book.
Author Peggy Thomas graciously agreed to answer a few questions about LINCOLN CLEARS A PATH.
What inspired this book?
I was poking around for a third president to go with Farmer George Plants a Nation and Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation. Editors like trilogies:-) I researched James Madison, but his farming did not have a huge impact on America. Same with John Adams who would have been interesting because he was a farmer from the North. His approach to farming was very different from the southern plantations. Then I was surprised to discover that Abraham Lincoln had a huge impact on farming. I had never heard that, and was pretty sure kids hadn’t either.
What do you want children to know about Lincoln?
I want kids to realize that Lincoln did more than write the Emancipation Proclamation. He drastically changed our culture and the landscape of the United States. He opened the west to homesteaders and approved the trans-continental railroad (good for agriculture, bad for Native Americans). He initiated the land grant colleges and established the USDA.
He did all of this during the Civil War, our darkest period in history. In a short 4 months in the summer of 1862, Lincoln managed to “clear the path” for the United States to become the bread basket of the world.
Do you have any favorite Lincoln quotes?
Yes. Here is a good one for writers: “When I read aloud, two senses catch the idea; first, I see what I read; second, I hear it, and therefore I can remember it better.”
You can also hear your mistakes clearer. That’s why I read my manuscripts, or have someone else read them out loud.
What project will you be working on next?
I have one more agriculturally related book coming out next year. It is a mid-grade biography of Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. He was an agricultural scientist who literally fed the world.
Borlaug was the kind of guy who ignored the status quo, knew what was right and would yell at the King of Pakistan in order to prevent a famine. He was a rebel. I think kids will like him.