Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope

3.5 36
by Nikki Grimes, Bryan Collier
     
 

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The #1 New York Times bestselling picture-book biography of President Barack Obama is now in paperback.

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

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Overview

The #1 New York Times bestselling picture-book biography of President Barack Obama is now in paperback.

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 our 44th President, 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.)

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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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442440920
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
01/24/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
1,113,133
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.30(d)
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 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books. She won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for Bronx Masquerade. She lives in Corona, California. Visit her online at NikkiGrimes.com.

Bryan Collier is the author and illustrator of the Coretta Scott King Award–winning book Uptown. He received Caldecott Honors for the books Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, which was also a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book; Rosa by Nikki Giovanni, which received the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; and, most recently, Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill. He lives in New York. You can visit him at BryanCollier.com.

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