Presidents’ Day

I have assembled some books today to help children understand and appreciate the two presidents that we commonly associate Presidents’ Day with – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  All of these books were available through my local library. They are all great resources for information, especially if you have a school age child who might need some information for a report.

As some of you may remember, both Washington and Lincoln have birthdays in February, and for many years, each day was celebrated independently. But in the late ’60’s, Congress decided that this was too much and needed to be streamlined. I have included some information below that you might find useful.

A short history lesson today courtesy of About.com/National and State Parks.

Presidents’ Day is intended to honor all the American presidents, but most significantly George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

National picture. Behold oh! American, your sons the greatest among men. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

National picture. Behold oh! American, your sons the greatest among men. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. We often refer to Washington as “Father of our Country.”

When Abraham Lincoln became president and helped reshape our country, it was believed he, too, should have a special day of recognition. However, Lincoln’s birthday fell on February 12th.

Prior to 1968, having two presidential birthdays so close together didn’t seem to bother anyone. February 22nd was observed as a federal public holiday to honor the birthday of George Washington and February 12th was observed as a public holiday to honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

In 1968, things changed when the 90th Congress was determined to create a uniform system of federal Monday holidays. They voted to shift three existing holidays (including Washington’s Birthday) to Mondays. The law took effect in 1971, and as a result, Washington’s Birthday holiday was changed to the third Monday in February.

Presidents’ Day  by Anne Rockwell

Presidents-Day-Anne-Rockwell

Books about George Washington

George Washington Crosses the Delaware by Elaine Landau

George Washington First President by Mike Venezia

George Washington, Our First President by Sneed B. Collard III

Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas

Revolutionary Friends by Selene Castrovilla

The Crossing – How George Washington Saved the American Revolution by Jim Murphy

When Washington Crossed the Delaware by Lynne Cheney

Books about Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln by Lauren Diemer and Mean Cuthbert

Abraham Lincoln by Erin Edison

I am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer

The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Maria Nelson

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