Obama: Only in America

Overview

From birth to getting elected as president, a biography told in lyrical prose.…

From his childhood in Indonesia to his teenage years in Hawaii, from his father’s homeland of Kenya to the halls of Harvard Law School and, later, the South Side of Chicago, Barack Obama searched for a place where he belonged. His search led him to the White House, where, as president, he would fight for "the god-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their...

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Overview

From birth to getting elected as president, a biography told in lyrical prose.…

From his childhood in Indonesia to his teenage years in Hawaii, from his father’s homeland of Kenya to the halls of Harvard Law School and, later, the South Side of Chicago, Barack Obama searched for a place where he belonged. His search led him to the White House, where, as president, he would fight for "the god-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness." In elegant, cadenced language, award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford provides a biographical tribute to a citizen of the world who journeyed from "Barry" to "Barack" to "Mr. President" as he found, finally, the place where he belongs. Primary source quotes from speeches are included throughout.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
This lyrical tribute to the 44th U.S. President describes Barack Obama's diverse childhood experiences and his various mentors and concludes with his successful presidential election. Struggling for self-acceptance, Obama's search for racial identity led him to his father's Kenyan homeland before establishing his family and expanding his political ambitions. Obama's noteworthy quotations are highlighted on each double-page spread, adding a powerful personal element to this rhythmic narrative and revealing a talented orator and inspirational leader. Though his recreational drug use is briefly described, Obama is depicted more as an iconic saint uniting the masses than a multifaceted, flawed human being. "He mirrored the best of all of us, and the good in all of us. / More than a poet, he was a candle in the darkness." Barrett's oil paintings successfully create depth by varying dominant features against muted, shaded backdrops. Expressive faces convey a dramatic tension. Weatherford's commemorative "American Baptism" provides a powerful finale to this undeniably passionate offering. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Weatherford has had a distinguished career writing lean picture biographies of prominent African-Americans. In this case, she celebrates Barack Obama's journey from Hawaii to his successful bid for the White House. Each spread offers a paragraph describing Obama's life experiences. At the bottom of the page of text, there is quote from one of Obama's campaign speeches related to the text. Weatherford is straightforward about the challenges Obama faced as the child of a single parent. She openly refers to his struggles as a teen to find his identity as a bi-racial child. Throughout, she sounds her theme that "Only in America" could Obama have succeeded in getting this far—but she leaves for another story whatever Obama is able to achieve (or fails to achieve) once inaugurated. Robert T. Barrett's oils on canvas have the feel of sepia photographs, which supports the documentary feel of the book. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This "biographical tribute" traces Obama from his birth on August 4, 1961, to Inauguration Day 2009. Facts about his upbringing, family, self-doubt, education, and political career are presented in a conversational style set on the page as free verse. Serious topics like racial identity, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, and the death of his father are touched on. A quote from one of his speeches appears in red type below the main text. The opposite page features oil paintings on canvas done in a muted palette that adds a dated feel to the work. Overall, the format seems wrong for the text. If a picture book is desired, Nikki Grimes's Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope (S & S, 2008) may be a better fit, and Garen Thomas's Yes We Can (Feiwel & Friends, 2009) fills the bill as straight biography.—Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477847633
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Pages: 50
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Carole Boston Weatherford is the author of Obama: Only in America; First Pooch: The Obamas Pick a Pet ; and Racing Against the Odds: The Story of Wendell Scott, Stock Car Racing's African-American Champion. She is also the author of other biographies about prominent African-American figures. A Fayetteville State University professor, Carole lives with her husband, son, and daughter in High Point, North Carolina.

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