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Literature Link

Mr. Lincoln’s Way


Patricia Polacco


Mr. Lincoln is the “coolest” principal: he is Santa at Christmas, lights the menorah at Chanukah, and wears a dashiki for Kwanza and a burnoose for Ramadan. He also tries to reclaim “Mean Gene,” a child who sasses his teachers, picks on other children, and makes ethnic slurs. When the principal discovers that the boy is fond of birds, he capitalizes on this interest. He involves him in attracting the creatures to the school atrium while at the same time showing him that just as the differences in the birds render them beautiful, so do the differences in people. Discussions about bullying, accepting diversity, and cooperation will follow the reading of this book.

Character Education Focus:

  • People should be accepting of others and get to know them before making judgments.
  • Doing one good thing can result in many positives.

Reading Objective:


  • use their comprehension skills to focus on making connections and determining the importance of the relationship between Mr. Lincoln and Gene. Use the graphic organizer provided here


Writing Objectives:

  • The learners will write their opinions on how to and why racism should stop.
  • The learners will pick one of the birds mentioned in the story to do a short research project.

ASCA: Grade 3, PS:A2.3 Recognize, respect, and appreciate individual differences.

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