My Life with the Lincolns

“Brandeis seamlessly intersperses serious topics with laugh-out-loud humor.”

School Library Journal

Mina Edelman believes that she and her family are the Lincolns reincarnated. Her main task for the next three months: to protect her father from assassination, her mother from insanity, and herself—Willie Lincoln incarnate—from death at age twelve. Apart from that, the summer of 1966 should be like any other. But Mina’s dad begins taking Mina along to hear speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago. And soon he brings the freedom movement to their own small town, with consequences for everyone. Gayle Brandeis has written a novel that is at turns laugh-out-loud funny and wise, acute, and compassionate. In My Life with the Lincolns, she gives us the unforgettable Mina Edelman, a precocious girl who faces, along with saving her family, the puzzling experience of growing up.

“An informative, clear, personal and passionate novel.”


Gayle Brandeis expertly marries a humorous manner to serious matter in MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS, an original and timely Civil Rights Era novel about a young girl learning to take part in a cause greater than herself. It’s a winner.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted

author of Crazy Beautiful

“This is the author’s first young adult novel, but she proves her ability to capture the ways a teenager might interpret events and assign meanings to them. The intricate storylines come together and create a wonderful read for adolescents and adults. Highly Recommended.”

Library Media Connection

“Brandeis has created an appealing, quirky protagonist, still childlike in her sensibilities and understanding…In her first novel for young readers, the author goes beyond usual stories of the civil-rights movement, demonstrating well-intentioned but tone-deaf gestures of white supporters and the discomfort of change.”

Kirkus Reviews

Gayle Brandeis has written a richly complex novel in the voice of her brilliant, courageous, funny, young heroine Mina Edelman. Through her whip-smart perceptions, we watch one family struggle through the turbulent 60s — the Vietnam War, feminism, and some of the most heated moments of the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago. Just as Mina sees deep connections between the nation’s struggles in the 60s to those of Lincoln’s presidency, readers will naturally draw correlations to present-day America — essential ones.

Julianna Baggott

author of The Ever Breath and The Prince of Fenway Park

“Just as Abraham Lincoln fought to end slavery and foster equality, Mina and her family face the same challenges 100 years later. Mina learns the important lesson of standing up for what you believe in and works towards making a more just society.”

Read On Wisconsin

“This strong showing should leave readers with a trove of Lincoln trivia and gratitude for the contributions of civil rights pioneers”.

Publishers Weekly