THE SUPERLATIVE A. LINCOLN Author Interview (+SWAG Offer!)

Woo hoo! Today we celebrate a magnificent picture book releasing soon, The Superlative A. Lincoln, plus an author interview with Eileen Meyer, and an incredible SWAG offer. (Really!) Glad you’re here to join in the fun! So let’s get to those questions …


Q. Can you tell us about the inspiration for your new picture book, The Superlative A. Lincoln, due out November 5th from Charlesbridge Publishing?

As an Illinois native, I’ve always admired Abraham Lincoln. In 2013, I read an adult biography about Lincoln and it struck me that there were still so many interesting stories about our sixteenth president that could be shared. Most young readers know the basic framework of Lincoln’s life, so I found a way to build on that in a fresh and interesting way.

Q. There have been many children’s books written about Abraham Lincoln, how is your book different?

This book is unique in that it celebrates superlatives, which most kids find fascinating. They enjoy learning about who is the tallest, the first at something, or the best at accomplishing a particular milestone. And each story is told through poetry—there are nineteen poems in this 48-page picture book. For example, you’ll learn why Lincoln was the “Most Distracted Farmer” when he was a young man, that he was known as the “Best Wrestler” in the county, and had the “Most Surprising Friendship” with another famous icon.

Illustrator Dave Szalay’s unique style brings Abraham Lincoln to life for young readers.

Q. Why poems?

Poetry provides the reader with an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect. Using lyrical language, sound, rhythm, and form, a poem can engage a reader in a very special way. Additionally, most poems are bite-sized morsels and include plenty of white space on the page. That space allows readers to think and dream about the topic, providing room to form their own connections. I hope that young readers will relate to these stories about our sixteenth president and will also consider how Lincoln’s actions and wisdom apply to our world today.

Q. Tell me a little about the illustrator who worked on this book:

I was excited to work with Dave Szalay and the entire Charlesbridge team, including Executive Editor Alyssa Mito Pusey and Art Director Diane Earley, on this picture book. Dave is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Akron, an experienced commercial visual artist, and a newcomer to children’s publishing. He won an SCBWI National Portfolio Showcase Honor Award in 2018 and I was thrilled to hear that he agreed to work on the Lincoln picture book! Dave’s creativity, attention to historical detail, plus his fresh and unique style are all evident in his beautiful art for this book.

Q. You have exciting news to share today – our Picture Book Builders readers are among the first to learn about this exciting SWAG offer:

Yes, when you preorder a copy of THE SUPERLATIVE A. LINCOLN, you’ll be eligible to receive this Most Exciting SWAG package (see details below)—package includes:
A “Be Superlative—Be Like Abe!” youth silicone wristband
A one-of-a-kind Lincoln cork coaster for a cup or mug (a great way to start the day—with a reminder to “Be Superlative!”)
A snazzy Lincoln pencil
An author-signed bookplate to place inside your book
Two bookmarks—featuring illustrator Dave Szalay’s awesome art
Activity sheets (only available with this offer) for a young reader
A lucky Lincoln penny

HOW to get this awesome SWAG bag?
1) Preorder a copy of THE SUPERLATIVE A. LINCOLN through your favorite online provider.
2) Forward your preorder confirmation showing proof of purchase and your shipping address to [email protected] and you’ll receive a SWAG bag in the mail within a few weeks.
LIMITED to the first 150 preorders w/ continental US addresses. One per person while supplies last. (Notice will be posted on when SWAG bags run out.)

Your preorder may be placed here:

Lightning Round Questions:

1. If you were a poem, what kind would you be?
A limerick! I like humor and rhyme.

2. Your book shares that Lincoln was the BEST wrestler. What are you BEST at?
I excel at traveling our country!

As Johnny Cash once sang, “I’ve been everywhere …” I’ve visited 49 of our 50 states (Alaska remains on my list) — most of them numerous times. As I write this, I’m on a road trip through eight states from Florida to Illinois. And of course last year, Suzanne, I heard your fabulous program for COUNTDOWN: 2979 Days to the Moon at the National Book Festival in Washington DC. I’m frequently on the move.

3. Name 3 superlatives that describe you.

biggest family historian among my kin (I love learning about and charting family ancestry.)
earliest riser in my family (I try to start my day with a sunrise walk.)
most likely to talk on and on about . . . Abraham Lincoln!

You can find more about Eileen here:
Twitter: @Writer_Meyer
Facebook: “Like” the Eileen R. Meyer Author page

Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating historical figures. Recent books include: SWISH! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, The Daring Dozen, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Astronaut Annie, Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story, Dangerous Jane, The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, The Inventor’s Secret, and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Coming soon -- MARS IS, JUNE ALMEIDA VIRUS DETECTIVE! THE WOMAN WHO DISCOVERED THE FIRST HUMAN CORONAVIRUS, THE UNIVERSE AND YOU, and TBA titles from Calkins Creek, Peachtree, and Random House. Learn more about Suzanne and her books at:


  1. Awesome interview! I think kids will get a kick out of coming up with their own superlatives after they read these fun poems!

    • You bet, Tina! There’s even a “Superlative YOU” page in the back matter so that young readers can list the many ways that they, too, are superlative! Are they the biggest Bears fan in their family? Or the best dancer? Or the most likely to watch the White Sox games? The possibilities are endless. 🙂

  2. What a great interview. I love your idea of using poems, Eileen.
    Can’t wait to read The Superlative A Lincoln, congratulations!

  3. Such a fresh idea to share more stories about a beloved president, Abraham Lincoln.

    Thank you for this super interview with Eileen. I look forward to reading THE SUPERLATIVE A. LINCOLN.

  4. Wow, Eileen! Sounds like a wonderful book! Abe Lincoln biographies were what got me interested in writing about the Civil War. I am such a Lincoln fan! And Alaska remains the only state I haven’t visited.

  5. Wonderful interview! Thank you, Suzanne and Eileen. Can’t wait to read the poems about Abraham Lincoln.

    • Thanks, Lisa. I think there will be some surprisingly “new” information about Lincoln that many don’t know. Enjoy!

  6. Carole Calladine

    What a fun interview! Superlatives! Great concept and who better to describe than A Lincoln. Thanks for sharing.

    • You bet, Carole. I had a lot of fun coming up with the superlative to fit each topic. Best Yarn-Spinner, Most Likely to Tinker, and Strongest Conviction are a few of my faves … Thanks for reading. 🙂

      • Excellent interview Eileen I can’t wait to share thoughts with my Julian about the book it will be very interesting to see his reaction and most of all to learn more about Big Abe in a fun superlative way. Cheers!

        • Thank you Lourdes! Julian will LOVE this book. We both know that he is a superlative soccer player and the BEST grandson in your family (also the only grandson, but who’s counting!)

  7. Kim Pfennigwerth

    So fun – Congratulations – I know I’m looking forward to reading these poems!

  8. LOVE this format, Eileen! What a cool way to get LOTS of AL info to kids. Thanks for this fascinating interview, Suzanne.

    • Thank you, Jill! I’m a big fan of YOUR work and last went to one of your breakout sessions at a midwest conference a few years back. We are both lovers of rhyme! This book was a unique way to approach NF informational text. So great to work with Suzanne on this interview, one of my author heroes! 🙂 YAY!

  9. Great interview. I love how the illustrator captures Eileen’s whimsical poetry. Can’t wait to see this book join the huge stack of books about Lincoln at the Ford Theater museum!

    • Thank you, Julie! Dave’s art is really awesome. You’ve had a sneak peek at it – can’t wait for others to see it, too! He’s such a talented newcomer on the illustration scene. I’m so lucky to have been paired with him for this picture book.

  10. One of my favorites is good old Abe. Wow, this looks like such a fun and informative book. I try to read something about Mr. Lincoln every year or so. This is one I’ll definitely add to my collection.

    • I think you’ll enjoy this book, Kirstie. I was so fascinated to learn some of these lesser-known stories that I wanted to share them with everyone. . . and now that dream has come true! Enjoy.

  11. Hi Eileen! I can’t wait to read this book to my library classes and work on the activities! Thank you for writing an interesting and informative book in a poetry format, about my history crush, Abraham Lincoln!

    • Fantastic, Diane! We need to start the local chapter of the Abraham Lincoln Fan Club – our chapter will be superlative, of course! With all that I know about Lincoln, I think that he would have enjoyed this picture book.

  12. Right when I think every possible book on Lincoln has already been published, Elileen Meyer writes one in verse! Amazing!

    • Thank you, Kathy! It’s definitely a different approach for this subject matter. Thankfully, my agent believed in the premise and found the perfect editor and publishing home for it. All it takes is the right person to get behind a project, right?

  13. Melissa Metzelfeld

    Another great book the kids are going to love!

    • Thanks, Melissa! I can’t wait for your three little ones to learn more about the tallest president, who was the best wrestler, and was most likely to tinker! They will enjoy it for sure.

  14. Great interview, Eileen. I can’t wait to get my copy of The Superlative A. Lincoln! So many interesting tidbits about our president. I would add another superlative about you – most amazing critique partner!

    • Thanks, Patty! I’m the one who needs to thank my most wonderful critique group friends, including YOU – without your input, this book would just be”pretty good” and not superlative!! Thank goodness for the important advice from our writing besties!

  15. Very excited to support one of my Waukegan, IL classmates! So very proud of you and another book to add to our granddaughter’s library.

    I ordered the book a few moments ago! Looks forward to receiving the Swag gift.

    Sharon Almon

    • Thanks, Sharon! So happy that you will share these Abe Lincoln poems and stories with your granddaughter. Your superlative SWAG bag will be sent later today!

  16. Thanks, Sharon! So happy that you will share these Abe Lincoln poems and stories with your granddaughter. Your superlative SWAG bag will be sent later today!

  17. Awesome! So happy to see you here, Sharon. Your granddaughter will enjoy these Lincoln poems and stories. Superlative SWAG bag is on it’s way, later today!

  18. Great interview! All kinds of fascinating information.

  19. I enjoyed this so much—thanks for sharing Suzanne and Eileen!

  20. Thank you, Eliza! I adore your artwork and am a BIG fan of your books. Excited about YOUR forthcoming book, Home in the Woods. 🙂

  21. This looks fantastic! Alway very happy to see more poetry. 🙂 Congratulations, Eileen, and thanks for the great interview, Suzanne!

  22. Great interview! I so love the format – simple, eloquent and quite moving.
    I love that Abe is portrayed as so human – an ordinary person who did extraordinary things.
    Thanks for sharing your talent with such great subject matter.

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