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Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope
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Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope

3.5 36
by Nikki Grimes, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

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Barack Obama is the story of an exceptional man, as told by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier, winners of the Coretta Scott King Award.

Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew


Barack Obama is the story of an exceptional man, as told by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier, winners of the Coretta Scott King Award.

Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn't quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together.

This is the moving story of an exceptional man, as told by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier, both winners of the Coretta Scott King Award. Barack Obama has motivated Americans to believe with him, to believe that every one of us has the power to change ourselves and change our world.

Editorial Reviews

This beautifully illustrated biography relates the inspiring story of Barack Obama, the first African American to become president of the United States. By the author of the Coretta Scott King Honor Books Road to Paris and Jazmin's Notebook.
Publishers Weekly

"One day Hope stopped by for a visit," begins this biography, narrowly framed as an exchange between an African-American mother and her son. They sit together on a "frayed" sofa in a "tenement" as she tells him who "Braco-what?" is and why he is so special; at the end she blinks back tears when he tells her that he, too, wants to be president when he grows up. (Hope later talks to Barack Obama, as does God.) Grimes (Bronx Masquerade) approaches her themes with a heavy hand, starting with her treatment of race as she describes "his mama, white as whipped cream,/ his daddy, black as ink" (she gets at awe similarly: "Barry's mom married/ a man named Lolo/ and-Oh! The wonderland/ he took Barry to: Indonesia"). Collier uses watercolor and collage, a choice he explains as a metaphor for the way Obama has "piece[d] life's issues together to create a courageous vision for the world." There is much to find in each composition (artfully placed photo images, batik patterns, etc.), but the illustrations often feel static and a few (like the one in which a single tear streams momentously down Obama's cheek), stagy. Ages 5-10. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 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

Kirkus Reviews
When David wonders why all those people on TV are shouting one man's name, his mother tells him Barack Obama's story. Accompanied by Collier's trademark, powerful collages, Grimes's storytelling voice, heavily tinged with the gospel rhythms of the black church, relates the particulars of Obama's youth, from his childhood in Hawaii and yearning for his estranged father, to his days as a community activist in Illinois, in the Senate and, most briefly, his presidential campaign. David's questions and his mother's responses punctuate each double-page spread, never letting readers forget the story's frame. It's a contrivance that works, perhaps because it's so obviously informed by the author's own passion, described in a concluding note. Based primarily on Obama's Dreams from My Father (2004) as well as other sources, this work stands on shaky nonfiction ground, as Grimes admits to taking artistic license; most troubling are unsourced quotations within the text. Still, of the three candidates' picture-book biographies out this season, this stands as the one most likely to communicate to children on a visceral level. (author's, illustrator's notes, resources, timeline, family tree) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.86(h) x 0.36(d)
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years


Meet the Author

NIKKI GRIMES is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, as well as the novels Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris, all of them Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books. She won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for Bronx Masquerade. Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California. Visit Nikki at www.nikkigrimes.com.

Bryan Collier is a two-time Caldecott Honor winner (for Dave the Potter and Trombone Shorty). He is also the author and illustrator of the Coretta Scott King Award–winning book Uptown, illustrator of Martin’s Big Words, which was also a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book; Rosa, which received the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; and the #1 New York Times bestselling Barack Obama. Mr. Collier lives in New York.

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Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book for my adopted biracial children. The same message that I have instilled in them all of their lives, reach for the stars, they can be anything they want to be!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My students really make connections with Barack Obama. They felt the same pain that he experienced being without his parents. They also could relate to being raised by a grandparent. This story made them feel as if anything were possible if you studied in school. You have to believe in yourself. It doesn't matter if you have one parent or two. Hope and hard work is the key. This book was truly inspiring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is empowering. Especially to the children who may come from homes that do not seem like the norm in society. Barrack's life speaks volumes to the children we have in our home. Thank you for putting Barrack's story in children's storybook form. It has become one of my favorites. It is right up there with Martin's Big Words. Thanks you!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
YES, WE CAN. We can dream. YES, WE CAN. We can achieve those dreams. YES, WE CAN. We can change America. YES, WE CAN. This story chronicles Obama¿s life as he leads up to running for President. The historical nature of the story is intriguing. They used to call him Barry until he embraced his father and his name Barack. As his mother taught him proper English, Godly virtues, and love of family his sense of adventure took hold. Education was his foothold and studying was his pastime. Barack felt the urgent need to help the community overcome the adversity and now he is making history¿ The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking. The storyline seems to be historical correct and the important dates chronology provide validation. The story touches on several topics ¿ divorce, family, values, education, and community involvement. The family tree, additional sources and bibliography prove the intense research used to write this book. Deltareviewer Reviewing for Real Page Turners
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful, expansive ways to help children appreciate the diversity of 'normal' experiences in their own lives, and to foster empathy for the divergence in the lives of others. Barack Obama is a gift, and so is this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To the person with the negative comment they could not be more wrong about this book. This book was written by Nikki Grimes without the assistance of Barack Obama and in my opinion I think the book was written beautifully. It was done in two weeks but she put her heart and soul into this projected and did all of her research. Her books usually takes her 3 to 4 months. I think the story line was super and the illustrations were fantastic. I purchased the book when it first came out and would buy it twice over.
guru13 More than 1 year ago
As an elementary teacher in an urban setting , I find the book to be educational and entertaining . Many of our students have expereinced being raised by single moms who face challenges of their own . It reveals how a mother's love can make up for what is not present in a childs life , whatever it may be . This book speaks to the heart of anyone who has a love and respect for children , education and the teaching of values at a young age. Children must learn tolerance and a respect for others from those adults who they love and respect . It then becomes a natural progression into their daily thinking and interactions with their peers and eventually the world . Congradulations to Nikki Grimes for taking this opportunity to share the story of a young child who dared to keep the principles taught to him by his mom and grandparents. The fruits of thier labor was not in vein
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That was horrible, where is the mention of him doing cocaine? God spoke to him? Are you kidding me?! Heads will role if my child reads this crap in school!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stimulates discussion with your kids and provides nice story of President Obama's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With knowing that I purchased this book for my children to learn from, I found it to be written with a child's full understanding of what they would be reading. Although, like many books written throughout life, this book turns the pages in time of what our new president went through in life that helped him build the ideology which assisted him to winning the election. Lessons learned through those that have been in our lives years ago, although the truth is the lessons we hold onto to carry us through to our dreams. President Barack Obama, like myself, heard the words of Martin Luther King Jr. of "I have a dream" which turned stones after stones to the new American dream to change the ideology within the political arena. I strongly feel that this book will open the eyes of tomorrow's children to know that they can be what ever they set their dreams on to be when they grow up.
cmf1 More than 1 year ago
This story is not just about Barack Obama, first African American Presidential nominee. This story reveals the feelings and emotions of kids struggling with extended family difficulties, the "D" word (divorce), mixed family backgrounds, feelings of parental abandonment, and identity issues. The great focal point was the demostration of hard work to either accept or overcome the issues and succeed. I sent this book to every juvenile boy and girl in my family, as a xmas gift, regardless of economic or family status. I got many thanks from parents and kids.
AFAN More than 1 year ago
My teen daughter showed me this book in the store. I took a picture walk through it and then did a quick read. Bravo Nikki! I bought this book and am now allowing it to spend one night at each 2nd grader's home in my class. The style of writing is touching and will appeal to both children and their parents.
bnelly More than 1 year ago
When I saw the book on display and began to peruse through it, I immediately saw that it was well written and illustrated for children. I purchased two, one for my granddaughter and grandson. My granddaughter, who was with me, read the entire book before we got home. She loved it and wanted to take it to school to share with the class. It really gives children a better insight of the childhood and history of our new President. Congrates to the writers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice inspirational story. For younger kids, check out "Barack Obama 101" - a board book for parents and grandparents to share this historic moment with the next generation of Americans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You people praising this book are sick. Nikki Grimes is sick as well. To paint in a child's mind that this man is some kind of God figure is wrong! This was written in 2008, so tell me now, in 2014 how that blessed Messiah in D.C. is doing. He is not filled with hope and he has not fullfilled any promises and he's LIED. I don't care how hard he worked in school, he's evil and you people are evil for allowing children to believe a liar is a Savior. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a disgraceful piece of propaganda that is perfect to train children into becoming good little progressive fascist who worship our worst President ever, Tyrant Obama. How much time to the spend talking about how Obama is a good liar and uses lies as a political tool? How about how Obama spreads hate among Blacks in order to motivate them to give him their support in elections? Do they tell about Obama's great triumphs as President? There aren't any. Do they talk about how Tyrant Obama violates our laws, his oath of office and the Constitution over and over?
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
This biography is told by a mother, Hope, to her son. Bryan Collier's watercolor and collage illustrations are beautiful and spot-on with the story being told. My biggest issue is God speaking to Barack Obama. Is this sending a message to children that only those individuals spoken to be God will succeed? Perhaps children will not interpret that part of the story as I did but it did cause me to pause. The timeline and family tree at the end of the story are helpful. This edition is revised and updated for the 2012 election according to the front cover. Thanks to Puget Sound Council for this review copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like the book.I recomend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a far-fetched portrayal of the first black president which verges on brain-washing. There are some touching moments in this book, but they are more than overwhelmed by a shockingly false portrayal of the man. It is clear from the title and cover illustration alone that this book is pure propaganda.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The art work is incredible. I used it in my classroom. It is a keepsake for any family with children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a great book for kids to read.
DRich More than 1 year ago
It is an excellent book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago