I haven’t read the other non-fiction Newbery medalists. But from some comments on these volumes: The Story of Mankind, Invincible Louisa, Daniel Boone – they were often found lacking. My guess is that when Russell Freedman came along the committee was all kinds of giggles and gusto to have such a concise, accurate, and readable biography to add to the Newbery cannon. Lincoln: A Photobiography maintains a formal narrative distance from the reader, yet manages to string out a captivating life, up to the point where I was sobbing at the death I knew from the beginning would end the tale. Russell is to be commended at maintaining a persistent pace. He never focuses overly long on one subject to the point where the reader grows weary of it. He also, without overtly stating it makes the case that this one person, Abraham Lincoln, held in his hands the directional destiny of our country. Left in other hands we may be living in an entirely different county today. This is never clearer than in the coverage Russell gives Lincoln’s reelection. I came away with a certainty that the war would have had an entirely different outcome if another had usurped the presidency.Like myself, I find many children shy away from non-fiction, unless sports or hubcaps are involved. When I do find that rare child who chomps through the 900 section I am in not a little awe. In fact, it was a little dicey that I would get a chance to read my own library’s copy. As at the moment, I have an awe-inspiring 5th grader who is gobbling up biographies and US history books like they were M&Ms. She got her hands on the book before I had a chance to pull it, and I needed to beg to get it back. My hope is that - any child who gives this book a chance will be rewarded with a sense of pride and gratitude that such an intelligent and empathetic man was willing to give himself to our country.