By TAMMY MATHES
Tammy Mathes is the owner of Banyan Tree Education, a tutoring service located in Greenwich, CT. She offers 25+ years of experience and instruction in reading, writing, math, history, test preparation, English, and the Common Application. The objective is to create lifelong, passionate, and engaged students. To reach this goal and ensure success, the student’s academic foundation is strengthened, and the current educational level is augmented. http://www.banyantreeeducation.com/
With rich language and illustrations, Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books is a wonderful biography for children. Author Kay Winters describes our sixteenth president’s early life on the frontier and his great love for reading. We learn that Lincoln was so passionate about books that he always carried one with him, even while doing chores. Winters shares examples of Lincoln’s honesty, empathy, and intellect and readers will also learn that he was a self-taught lawyer before becoming president.
Presidential Pets: The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House incorporates witty prose, presidential facts, and curious trivia. With colorful illustrations and graphics, author Julia Moberg describes various pets that have graced the White House quarters. These include bears, an alligator that lived in the East Room bathroom, tigers from the Sultan of Oman, as well as dogs, birds, and horses. Readers are bound to learn both silly and valuable information about the presidents in this funny book.
David Stabler’s Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents is intriguing and full of interesting and entertaining bits of information. We learn that Ulysses Grant rode horses before he could speak and that due to a job at Baskin-Robbins as a teen, Barak Obama hates ice cream. Stabler explains that even the presidents had common problems as children; Jack Kennedy had an overbearing older brother and Teddy Roosevelt’s messy room caused contention at home. Readers will see that lessons learned early often affect one’s behavior later, too. As a child, Eisenhower had a horrible temper but learned to control it with his mother’s help. As president, he never showed his anger in public, and he believed this was a great asset while leading military troops and our nation.
Older Teens and Adults:
America’s First Daughter, by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray, depicts the life of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, Thomas Jefferson’s eldest child. The novel begins during the American Revolution, as British soldiers march towards Monticello and Patsy and her family are forced to flee during the night. Written from her perspective, the story follows father and daughter to Paris where he is the Ambassador to France, and there, they witness the start of the French Revolution. It continues with their return to Virginia, Patsy’s marriage and family life, and Jefferson’s incredible political career. Throughout his life, Jefferson heavily relies on his daughter’s love and support and the two share a strong bond. While Patsy endures many hardships throughout the novel, she demonstrates selflessness and a great loyalty to her father. Well-researched and filled with details about the Jefferson family, America’s First Daughter is a historical novel that not only describes the birth of our nation but illustrates that despite their few rights, women held an important role during the start of our country.