Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Finding Lincoln

Finding Lincoln

Ann Malaspina
Illustrator:  Colin Bootman 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Albert Whitman , 2009   ISBN: 978-0807524350

Louis is a young boy who can play the piano and skate backwards, but he cannot got into the public library in his town. He is not allowed to because he is black, and this really bothers him.

One day Louis’ teacher asks Louis to find out what Abraham Lincoln was like as a boy. Louis’ school library and the little library in his church don’t have any books about the young Abraham Lincoln, so Louis decides that there is only one thing that he can do. He is going to have to go to the “White’s Only” library. Louis is brave enough to go into the library, but he is escorted out by one of the librarians. Luckily the librarian is the kind of person who believes everyone should be allowed to use the library, and she finds a way to help Louis. Though she is scared, just like Louis is, she is willing to break the rules for a little boy who is looking for a book.

We often read about how buses, schools, and lunch counters were segregated in the south because of Jim Crow laws. This book explores another place that African Americans could not enter before 1966. It is hard to image what it would be like to be denied the right to go to a public library. In this book Ann Malaspina shows her readers what it would have been like to experience this form of discrimination. Her book serves as a powerful tribute to all those brave people who refused to accept the laws, and who were punished for insisting that they too had the right to borrow a book from a public library.

At the back of the book, the author provides readers will additional information that is related to her story.