I found out the setting of My Life With The Lincolns was Downers Grove, Illinois and I had to read it! The author, Gayle Brandeis, is not from Downers Grove but she researched the town and what it was like in 1966 to write this story.
My Life With The Lincolns stars Mina Edeman. Mina is spending her summer after sixth grade in her hometown of Downers Grove with her family. By the way, she is convinced her dad is Abraham Lincoln reincarnated and her family is the Lincoln family! She even convinces her dad to name his downtown Downers Grove furniture store Honest ABE’s.
The only thing Mina’s father and Abe Lincoln have in common is that they both believe in equality for all people. Mina’s father Albert begins going to civil rights speeches and meetings. He’s interested in helping African Americans move to and live in Downers Grove but not all the residents agree. Some trouble stirs up for the Edelman family. Later that summer, Mina tags along with her dad as they head to Chicago to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak! At a march in the city, protesters get out of hand. Mina and her father are stuck in the middle of the danger. That danger comes to Downers Grove as some people become angry with Albert’s work to help promote civil rights for all.
It was very cool reading a book that mentioned places I know and have visited – the Tivoli Theater, Main Street, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Soldier Field to name a few. I could imagine these places as I read. Mina is a hilarious character and I laughed out loud several times at some of her antics. I recommend this book for all O’Neill Middle School students because they know Downers Grove and all other middle school students because it is an interesting look at a turbulent time in our history.