A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination is a presidential trivia lover’s heaven. Through the combined effort of writer Bryan Young, his daughter Scout, illustrator Erin Kubinek, and a highly-funded Kickstarter campaign, the book pays homage to 13 of the nation’s leaders who have been the target of an attempted assassination, four of whom have actually died.
While the title includes the words “children’s” and “illustrated,” this is not a warm and fuzzy picture book to be read to the kids before bedtime. It’s designed for kids who are starting to learn the history of America in school. That’s not to say that the book wouldn’t interest adults, either. Young narrates what each president did during their lifetime as well as providing the historical context surrounding what would cause a person to want to kill a president, whether it was because of too many paint fumes or anger at the government. The illustrations act as graphic vignettes, complimenting and enhancing the unfolding stories.
Keep in mind that the book isn’t just 160 pages of fun trivia facts; it acts as a supplement to grade school history classes where major assassinations are discussed (JFK, Lincoln, etc). This is not by any means a light subject, and it is treated with the respect it deserves in the book while not falling into dry history lecture. Some of the illustrations could be considered too explicit, such as JFK’s assassination, but is there really any easy way to describe his death? In general, this book is recommended for late-middle school students and older because it gives the facts in an engaging and entertaining way that this age group will enjoy. A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination is an intriguing read for both kids and adults and helps tell parts of American history in a new and memorable way.
Erin O’Neall is a Library Assistant for the Salt Lake City Public Library. To find similar books within the library's catalog, or to find more info on The City Library's programs and services, visit slcpl.org.