My Brother Abe by Harry Mazer.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: NY, 2009.

My Brother Abe gives voice to Abraham Lincoln's sister Sally who died in childbirth at age 21. The story deals with the Lincolns' move from Kentucky to Indiana when they are put off their land by wealthy investors. Included is their mother's death and Sally's running of their frontier home at age 11 until Mr. Lincoln brings home a new wife. A poignant period of adjustment follows with Sally unwilling to accept a stepmom.

The historical references to Abraham Lincoln are just teasers, a setting perhaps. The title doesn't quite fit, since the story is Sally's not Abe's. Little is truly known of Sally, but Mazer's story is a glimpse into the difficult life on the frontier. Imagine being in charge of the house (meals, cleaning, food rationing) at age 11. Even being left to run things for weeks while a parent is absent. The best part to me is the emotional struggle Sally has with her father and the ordeal of becoming part of the family her father pieces together out of necessity. Her burden is lifted, but belonging is another matter. I imagine it isn't so different from families pieced together nowadays.

related-Sarah Lincoln, 19th century, early 1800s, Abraham Lincoln, childhood and youth, frontier and pioneer life, Indiana history, homestead

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