FREE SPEECH ZONE | “B is for Battle Cry” Teaches Children about Lincoln’s Time


As the parents of four grown children, my husband and I enjoyed sharing our interests with them, and searched for ways to incorporate what they learned at school into our daily activities. Museums, festivals, parks, library visits, are not only treasured memories for us, but helped our children find their path to academic success.

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Parents who are looking forward to Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln opening in theaters this month, can share their excitement about this time in history and this great president with their children through the book B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet, written by Minnesota author Patricia Bauer and published by Sleeping Bear Press (2009).


The book, beautifully illustrated by Bauer’s husband, David Geister, describes the people, places and events of the Civil War, in easy-to-understand alphabetic verse for the younger reader, while text in the margin gives additional information to older children and adults. Geister’s full-page paintings depict the four years of bloody conflict in a manner that conveys both the emotions and gravity of the times, but with subject matter suitable for young children. Readers who know something of the Civil War will recognize and appreciate the historical accuracy and detail that Geister puts into the paintings.


The book’s verses are set to American songwriter Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More”, written in the mid-nineteenth century. Providing a multimedia format, both the song and the book’s verses can be heard, performed by Bauer and Geister, on Geister’s website, and is available as a free download.


Bauer, a history teacher at a Twin Cities middle school, and Geister, an historical artist, devote much of their free time to teaching about the Civil War and Minnesota history at historical events, schools and libraries. “Stories are what Dave and I love about history, and you can’t find any more dramatic ones than those from the American Civil War,” said Bauer in a recent conversation.


B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet can be purchased at local bookstores or Amazon online. I highly recommend this book for would-be history buffs, their parents, and those who are just being introduced to the incredible drama of this pivotal time.