From School Library Journal
Grade 5–9—Thomas describes Obama as a "new leader who seems to be granting Americans a renewed license to dream," and maintains an admiring tone throughout. She opens with a look at his Kenyan father and American mother and covers Obama's childhood, education, and early influences. The author also relates his efforts as an adult to learn about his father and his African heritage and to find his place in America. The last chapters chronicle Obama's rapid political ascent and his early victories in the Democratic primary, briefly mentioning some campaign controversies, such as his relationship with outspoken minister Jeremiah Wright. Each section of the book opens with a quote from Obama, and the text is supplemented with black-and-white photos of the senator and his family and friends. Although Thomas does not document her sources, an author's note explains that she draws both from Obama's own memoirs and other published and interview sources. While there is little here that has not been widely reported in the media or adult titles, Thomas's clear prose will help students learn more about the first African American to gain a major party nomination for the presidency.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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This adulatory profile of the presidential candidate’s meteoric rise carries his career up to his March 2008 “More Perfect Union” speech. Interspersed with large-type inspirational sound bites and black-and-white photos of Obama as a child or posing with constituents and family members, Thomas’ narrative characterizes Obama’s father as a legendary figure “like John Henry,” cites Obama’s statements in first and third grade that he wanted to grow up to be president, and finds the closest thing to a character flaw in his ambition—an unwillingness to “wait his turn” in running for political office. This does not quite measure up to William Michael Davis’ Barack Obama: The Politics of Hope (2007), though anything on Obama gets quickly out-of-date. Grades 6-9. --John Peters