Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Abraham Lincoln from YWAM ~ A Crew Review

YWAM publishing, Hero biographies

YWAM Publishing has two phenomenal series of biographies: Heroes of History and Christian Heroes: Then & Now. For this review, Arlene selected Heroes of History - Abraham Lincoln. While Arlene has been studying the adult life of Abraham Lincoln for several years, I knew that a biography from YWAM Publishing would give her more insight into his early years. 

YWAM publishing, Hero biographies

One thing that I have always enjoyed when we have read these biographies from YWAM is the accompanying downloadable study guides. While Arlene at 17 is getting a bit old for some of the activities in the study guide, it always helps her think more about what she has read if I have her look through the study guide and do some of the pages. Often she has done the map work, timeline, and fact sheet,  that are included in the study guides, but this time we took the learning a bit further. There are reading comprehension questions that help the student think through each section of the book as they read it. While these are ideal for students to use to really make the biography into a full unit study, I wanted Arlene to use those comprehension questions to think about the causes and events that happened in Lincoln's life, and how they molded him into the man he was as our President. I asked her to write me a five point report about the key influences and forces in Lincoln's life, based upon what she had read in the YWAM book, not based upon her prior knowledge. Keep on reading after her report, because I want to share WHY Arlene chose Abraham Lincoln over the other choices in the Heroes of History series.

From Arlene:

Mom wanted me to write this in the form of five talking points instead of as a history from beginning to end which is a lot different then most of my reports from the past. So I guess its time to pull those 7th grade writing lessons from the back of my mind and actually use them. My five talking points will be:

New Beginnings 


Hard times 



New Beginnings - Abe went through a lot of new beginnings over his life and they started when he was young and his family moved from Kentucky to Indiana, and then when his father got remarried. But it didn't stop there. Abe’s family moved again the next time to Illinois where Abe had many new things happen to him, like becoming a lawyer, getting married to Mary Todd, and being a member of the United States house of representatives for a term. But those were somewhat small compared with the new beginning he had late in his life when he moved to Washington D.C. to become the 16th President of the United States. There were many new beginnings in Abe’s life and each one brought with it adventure.

Adventure - Abe went on many adventures in his life from exciting ones like taking river boats down the Mississippi to New Orleans, to the adventures of starting his own store with someone he knew, to ones that don’t seem so grand but are just as important in his life: becoming a lawyer, a congress man and a husband and father. Some of these were easier then others and there were many hard times in the Lincoln family.

Hard Times - Life wasn't always easy for Abe, in fact it was usually quite hard, but he always persevered. Troubles didn’t wait for Abe to grow up. When he was young his family decided to move from Kentucky because of complicated and unfair land laws and not long after they had settled in Indiana his mother died, along with other family members that had moved with them. Hard times didn’t stop either as Abe got older. Sometimes life didn’t seem to get much better. He became President in a time just before the American Civil war fully broke out and over that time two of his children who were a big part of his life died. Because of their deaths his wife Mary was never quite the same but he always persevered.

Perseverance - Like I talked about above, Abe went through many hard times in his life but he always persevered and never gave up. He always persevered in life and always encouraged others to do so as well. Like he said in his famous Gettysburg Address when he called the people of the United States to persevere so that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. He always persevered throughout the hard times and he never gave up even when bad things happened to him, his family, and his country.

Family - As talked about above, Abe’s family changed a lot over the years. His mother died when he was young, but his step-mother was a kind and caring woman and his step siblings were kind. His family was important as he got older too, his wife Mary Todd and his sons brought much joy to his life. Abe and Mary were both devastated when two of them died during that war. 

Well thats that. I hope I summed up what I learned about President Lincoln well and that you learned something new about him.

More from Carol:

Why YWAM biographies?

We enjoy the biographies from YWAM for several reasons, but here are a couple key ones. They are written from a Christian perspective, meaning that you can read them aloud to the whole family, or hand them to your child and have them read them independently without worrying what might be inside the story. If the person covered had an unsavory past before coming to Christ, it is handled with tact, and only as a broad overview.  If the person had struggles with depression, family issues, or doubts about God, these are also handled with tact, and the redemption of their life, character, and family is the focus... not the wrongs or the struggles of the past. 

I enjoy reading the YWAM biographies myself because they give a solid overview of the person's life without making the commitment of a 300+ page book, like most biographies geared towards adults. Most of the YWAM biographies run around 200 pages of easy to read type on pages that are about 5x8". These biographies run $9.99 each, but if you order directly from YWAM they are $7.50 each. I know that the YWAM booth is probably one of the most visited booths at our state homeschool convention every spring! At the beginning of the day on Friday they have massive mountains of books, and by Saturday afternoon, there are just a few lone books left, and parents are placing orders to have the other titles shipped to their homes. There are sets within each of the series of five books available with a small discount, or you can buy either of the complete series at a huge discount. If Arlene were younger, we would have purchased one of those complete sets and just let her read her way through biographies for history!

YWAM publishing, Hero biographies

Now, a little more about WHY Arlene chose Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln spent his adult life in Illinois, a free state. While Illinois claimed to be a free state, meaning slavery was illegal there, the tensions ran high during his entire life about the issue of slavery. In 1858, while in an unsuccessful bid to be elected a Senator from Illinois, Lincoln challenged the incumbent, Stephen A. Douglas during a series of debates. One of those debates took place in Alton, Illinois.

Alton, IL is located on the north side of the Mississippi river, just above St. Louis, MO. This is one of the bends in the mighty Mississippi river where it travels more west-east than north-south. St. Louis was a prominent southern city with slavery, and the dividing line between the north and south around this part of the river was often blurry in the minds of the citizens. Friends of Lincoln's, Elijah P. Lovejoy and his brother Owen Lovejoy lived in Alton, IL in 1837. Lincoln lived in Springfield, IL. Several of the citizens of Alton were upset because Elijah was using his printing press to publish anti-slavery materials. His brother Owen was preaching against slavery. On November 7th, 1837, a mob of pro-slavery supporters attacked the warehouse where Elijah had hidden his fourth printing press (the other three having already been destroyed by angry mobs.) During the horrific night that followed, Elijah was shot multiple times by the angry mob, the press destroyed, and the warehouse burnt. Part of this story is told in the Abraham Lincoln biography from YWAM...as I mentioned before, they handle violence with tact... the rest of it we have learned over the years because Kurt's family name used to be Lovejoy. There is a family connection between Arlene's great-great-great-great grandfather Lovejoy and Elijah and Owen. 

YWAM publishing, Hero biographies

Four years ago we were returning from a family trip to Oklahoma and spent the night in Alton, IL. The following morning we took the girls to the site of the Lincoln-Douglas debate, and to the cemetery on the hill where Elijah P. Lovejoy was buried, and later, the residents of Alton, IL erected a monument to his memory and work for the abolitionist cause. The fight over his printing press is sometimes referred to as the first battle of the Civil War. There were a lot of years of struggles that led to 1861.

YWAM publishing, Hero biographies

YWAM biographies from the Heroes of History series bring history to life. They help the reader become a part of the story by covering some of the childhood of the person, so children can come to understand that they too can grow up to do mighty things, whether small or large, for God. We highly recommend them to all that ask. You can read our previous reviews of Ronald Reagan, another Hero of History, and C.S. Lewis, from the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series. 

Click on the banner below to read the reviews of other Crew families of various titles in both series from YWAM Publishing.

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