Editorial Review

A noteworthy review of Our Presidents from Children's Literature on January 1, 2002

This entry in the well-written ‘Our Presidents’ series provides an overview of Andrew Johnson’s life, early years in the Carolinas and Tennessee, a list of his some dozen elected offices, his longtime work on behalf of the poor, and his tough stand in the Civil War as the only senator from a southern state to serve after his state seceded. The text also covers his ever-controversial stands on Reconstruction, citizenship for African Americans, and states-versus-central government issues which resulted in the first impeachment trial of a U.S. president. A small selection of photographs show Johnson and various of his dwellings, but most photographs are taken from paintings, etchings, and other realizations of the era. One-page sections include one about Johnson’s love of the spoken word, African American rights, and an explanation of impeachment. Sidebars include interesting facts and the picture captions are informative and lengthy enough to inform casual browsers. Each book in the series ends with a glossary defining highlighted words in the text, a timeline specific to the president’s life, a complete table of presidents through George W. Bush with their home states, life spans, presidential spans, political party and the name of their first ladies. Included are a page of ‘Presidential Facts’ and numerous web sites and relevant suggested other resources, as well as an index. All in all, it’s a strong, informative, and very readable contribution to the literature about presidents for upper elementary and middle-school readers.

—Susan Hepler

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