Cover image for O captain, my captain : Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War / words by Robert Burleigh ; illustrations by Sterling Hundley.
O captain, my captain : Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War / words by Robert Burleigh ; illustrations by Sterling Hundley.
Publication Information:
New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2019.
Physical Description:
63 pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Nonfiction picture book recounts how President Abraham Lincoln inspired the poet Walt Whitman during the Civil War.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
973.7 BUR Book Junior Collection

On Order



Dramatic, lyrical, and beautifully illustrated, O Captain, My Captain tells the story of one of America's greatest poets and how he was inspired by one of America's greatest presidents. Whitman and Lincoln shared the national stage in Washington, DC, during the Civil War. Though the two men never met, Whitman would often see Lincoln's carriage on the road. The president was never far from the poet's mind, and Lincoln's "grace under pressure" was something Whitman returned to again and again in his poetry. Whitman witnessed Lincoln's second inauguration and mourned along with America as Lincoln's funeral train wound its way across the landscape to his final resting place. The book includes the poem "O Captain! My Captain!" and an excerpt from "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," brief bios of Lincoln and Whitman, a timeline of Civil War events, endnotes, and a bibliography.

Author Notes

Robert Burleigh has written a number of books for children that have received starred reviews and many awards, including the CCBC Choices List and the ALA Notable Book, among others. He lives just outside Chicago, IL.

Sterling Hundley is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Among his clients are the United States Postal Service, Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Scholastic, Marvel, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the New Yorker. For much of his illustration career, Hundley's work has been regarded as amongst the most highly acclaimed in the illustration industry. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Burleigh tells the story of the poet and of the president he so admired, sprinkling quotes from Whitman and lines of his poetry throughout: "Walt saw everything: the tall and lanky body, the dark complexion, the 'wrinkled and canny-looking' face." Passages explore the invisible threads connecting the two men, including their compassion for Civil War soldiers, antipathy of slavery, and abiding love for their wounded nation. Burleigh also dramatizes the moment when, overcome with emotion after Lincoln's assassination, Whitman creates the well-known poem: "O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done." Hundley's striking art blends naturalistic portraiture with contrasting shadowy blues and fiery oranges and renders Lincoln as giantlike in stature, visually emblematizing the president's enormity of character and influence. An emotionally and historically resonant homage to two kindred spirits. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.