Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama

Goodreads description:

In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood.

This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation’s founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.

There was a great deal of hoopla over this book on the library listservs I follow.  Of course that made it almost impossible to read this book objectively.  What was frustrating about the discussions on the listservs  was that they focused not on the quality of the book, but on 1.) as president what was he doing writing a book when he should have been running the country and 2.) did he really write the book – of course he had to have had a ghostwriter.

President Obama may be the first sitting president to release a book, but I could not find anywhere that said the book was written after he took office. Personally, I don’t really care when he wrote it. That’s a political issue and this is a children’s book.  Books for children should not be political.

As for whether or not he wrote the book or just added his name – I honestly don’t know. I couldn’t find any authoritative sources one way or the other.  It’s not uncommon for well-known people to lend their name to a work in order to increase sales or what not. Many politicians have certainly done so.

All of the political grumblings aside, the question remains, is this a good book?

I think so. It’s a feel good story for young children. It provides a very positive message, something we all want for our children.  The illustrations are beautiful.

My favorite line is

“Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?
How the sound of your feet
running from afar
brings dancing rhythms to my day?
How you laugh
and sunshine spills into the room?”

My political views do not follow President Obama’s, but I didn’t find this book to be a political statement.  Rather, it is a positive book to share with children (not a bad one for adults either), but be sure when you pick up this book you put down your political opinions and read the book for what it is – a feel good book for children.

Recommended for Kindergarten to 3rd grade.

Mrs. Archer’s rating: 5 of 5.

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