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Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope Hardcover – August 26, 2008


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Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope + Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Library Binding edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416971440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416971443
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 5—A bright child of humble background is encouraged by the adults around him to believe that he is capable of doing anything he wants to do. Sound familiar? It's called the American Dream, and the boy is Barack Obama, a biracial child who has gone on to change the course of history. This picture-book biography serves to educate children not only about Obama's journey thus far, but also to connect his circumstances to their own. In particular, children of color now know that they too have boundless potential. Grimes's imagery, however, is occasionally overblown as both Hope and God speak directly to Obama. His impressive life story needs no inflating, and the heavy imagery gets in the way of the message. Collier's vivid watercolor and collage artwork brings the varied aspects of the man's life together. From the sparkling beaches of Hawaii where he played as a child to the brown, arid village in Kenya where his father was buried, readers see Obama always reaching toward the future. Despite the overly laudatory tone, this book is an appealing addition to biography collections.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Inspirational is the word for this glowing picture-book biography, framed by the fictional story of a small African American boy who asks his loving, single-parent mom to tell him about Barack Obama. With fast free verse (“His family stretched / from Kansas to Kenya; / his mama, white as whipped cream, / his daddy, black as ink”) and big, handsome illustrations, Coretta Scott King Award winners Grimes and Collier tell the story of Obama’s life. Beginning with his childhood in Hawaii, double-page spreads show him interacting with kids from all over the world. Despite the sadness of his parents getting divorced, both inspire him to find hope in education, and he learns to confront racism (“hurt and hate and history”), and is moved to help the poor. Grimes’ stirring words and Collier’s watercolor-and-collage pictures convey the power of diversity to make a “new whole.” On each spread a small box displays the running conversation between the boy and his mother, and his final comment is: “When I grow up, I want to be the president.” Preschool-Grade 2. --Hazel Rochman

More About the Author

Nikki Grimes conveyed the fire-in-the-belly fervor of a Harlem girl who knows she was born to write in Jazmin's Notebook, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. In My Man Blue, a Booklist Editor's Choice and Newsweek Children's Books of the Year selection, her artful words expressed a boy's journey from skepticism to trust. And now with Bronx Masquerade she presents a rich chorus of eighteen voices, singing openly about ideas, feelings, and questions--things that open minds, invite debate, provide release. A recent Booklist review proclaims: "As always, Grimes gives young people exactly what they're looking for--real characters who show them they are not alone."An accomplished poet, novelist, journalist, and educator, Ms. Grimes was born and raised in New York City and now lives in the Los Angeles area.

Customer Reviews

The actual book may have been good, guess I'll never know.
Linda Wilt
I'm pretty neutral about Barack Obama as a person and a candidate, but the messianic message in this utterly insipid book makes me roll my eyes over and over again.
J. Victor
It's a beautiful book that's a good read for any youngster.
Roeshell Robinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David S Metts on May 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know that Obama did not write this book, but I also realize that his charisma can cause people to have halucinations or fairy tale dreams. His mouth is his only asset.
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63 of 91 people found the following review helpful By T. Greer on November 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I took a look at this book at my local bookstore a few days before November 4, and at that time I giggled at the very bright, technicolor pictures of the book. I also winced a little at the dangerously-close-to-hubris conceit of writing such a book before the election results were known. How could you tell a complete story about a historical figure unless you knew what the ending was? At the time, though, I thought this was a harmless book, and was still giddy (and terrified) at the thought of Election Day coming up.

Now, after the euphoria has subsided a bit, I took a second look at this book.

I didn't laugh at it much this time around. I still winced when I read it, and not in a good way.

Some good things about the book: The final pictures were practically prescient (it almost matched the Obamas' election night picture, with the Obama parents walking out with Sasha and Malia by their sides); it was interesting to see the beginning illustrations and interpretations of Obama's childhood pictures, and the rest of the book telegraphed the giddy hope of Big Expectations that many, many people felt that night.

However, I thought the asides from the mother and her child were a little distracting, a "forced" questioning innocence from the child and an almost condescending tone from the mother. Most distracting, as noted by other reviewers, was the "Lion King/Messiah/Star Wars/Chosen One" kind of vibe given to Obama throughout the narrative. This was the dangerously-close-to-conceit part of the book that made me wince. While it's good to teach children to respect the President of the United States, this book fairly jumps across the line from respect to breathless worship.

President-Elect Barack Obama is an ordinary man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thinking loaf. on April 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
It's one thing to gloss over the backgrounds of our Presidents... you expect that. I would like my children to know about the history of the President. But if I want them to know about a Messiah, we'll read the Bible, not a children's book.
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82 of 121 people found the following review helpful By J. Roemisch on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm a 2nd grade teacher. I went to Barnes and Noble tonight and one of my missions was to look at the picture books regarding the presidential candidates (I knew that there had to be a few by now) to read to my students during our daily read aloud times. I want to be able to present each of the candidates in a fair manner. While at the store I found this book.

The books is SO heavy-handed (I looked to see if it hadn't been written by, endorsed by, or if the profits weren't going directly to the DNC). Barack comes across as a Moses for our times. He is spoken to by "Hope", and later on it seems that Hope turns into the voice of God. God doesn't just stir his soul but recites sentences/a paragraph, and seems to anoint him a modern-day prophet. The child in the book even compares him to Joseph of the new testament. This is going WAY too far (unless of course we are to expect The Book of Barack to be added to the Bible any day now). Actually, the heavy-handed writing made me laugh as I rejected even the possibility of bringing it into the classroom.

I do, though, allow adult guest readers to bring in books of their choosing when they join us for read alouds. I started to wonder how I would handle the situation if someone brought in this book. My solution will be to apologize immensely and then mention, "Oooops, we were suppose to go to the art room for a special presentation. We'll have to reschedule this read aloud."

There is no way I could present this book to my students. I might as well read the Bible and replace major names with Barack.

PLEASE publishers! Give us DECENT books about the candidates.
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78 of 115 people found the following review helpful By J. Victor on October 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
...if it is, then this book manages to. I'm pretty neutral about Barack Obama as a person and a candidate, but the messianic message in this utterly insipid book makes me roll my eyes over and over again. The language is decent enough on a technical level for that age group, though patronizing. When he starts seeing the ghosts of JFK and MLK and references are made to Langston's Harlem, I'm not sure that the kids that the book is aimed at are going to pick up on the references. The illustrations are passable in the beginning, but as it continues, they become more and more over-the-top (Barack Obama crying in church, Barack Obama praying with a butterfly perched on his clasped hands, Barack Obama glowing with a heavenly aura). Cramming this political tripe into a children's book is bad enough, but the heavy-handed treatment and political sloganizing makes it unbearable.
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59 of 88 people found the following review helpful By AC on November 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is painful to read… racist to the extreme. "White voters would never vote for a black president" This book presents BO as the savior of the country, fighting against the odds to win despite horrible white people. Hello? How dare this be presented to young children.

Good job to Nikki Grimes for producing an overtly racist / anit-white book for young children. For parents, grandparents and anyone else of ANY race that might consider this book and want to teach children that people really can vote for reasons other than race - skip this book and don't look back.
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