Sunday, February 14, 2016


With President's Day upon us, people are pulling out picture books about Lincoln, like Maira Kalman's Looking at Lincoln. The child in the book reveres Lincoln. Most Americans do, I think, but what we know about him is... incomplete.

What do you know about Lincoln and Native peoples?

Most people do not know that he issued an order for the mass execution of 38 Dakota men. It was the largest mass execution in the United States. That is not included in Kalman's book.

Is mass execution not age appropriate? Violence is ok, as these pages demonstrate.

One page shows a uniform with a bullet hole in it:

And there's a page showing a numbered grave:

And Kalman includes a page about Lincoln's assassination:

So.... what to make of decisions of what to include, and what not to include. Of course, her book--or any book--can't include everything. True enough, but I wonder what we'd find if we started looking carefully. Would we find it in any books?

Earlier in the book, the little girl goes to a library and finds out there's over 16,000 books about him. I wonder how many of those are for children and young adults, and of them, I wonder if any of them include that mass execution?

What do you think about what is included, and what is not included?