Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

3.9 214
by Barack Obama
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children,… See more details below

Overview

In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.
 
Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood.
 
This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation’s founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Already the author of two books for adults, President Obama turns toward young Americans with this picture book tribute to 13 men and women--and corresponding qualities of character--that demonstrate the nation's best. Written before he took office, the book directly addresses daughters Sasha and Malia, who appear throughout, joined by young versions of Georgia O'Keeffe, Helen Keller, Sitting Bull (a selection that's already generating controversy), Neil Armstrong, and the rest--a tangible reminder that every hero, artist, and explorer was once a child. Obama asks a series of questions, followed by poetic descriptions of each famous American. "Have I told you that you don't give up?" appears opposite Martin Luther King, Jr., hands joined in solidarity with civil rights supporters; "Have I told you to be proud to be American?" accompanies a winter scene of General George Washington encouraging a trio of soldiers ("He helped make an idea into a new country, strong and true"). On the left side of each spread, the growing chorus of children faces Long's paintings--by turns majestic, whimsical, and rousing--as though watching history unfold. The group is highly diverse, both in backgrounds and accomplishments, creating a collective portrait of citizens' inspiration, dedication, and bravery. Ages 3–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"If Barack Obama wants to quit his day job (and maybe he might), he can probably make it as a children’s book author. Certainly, this is a beautiful package: thoughtfully conceived, handsomely illustrated and designed, and with a tight yet evocative text that brings children into the world of 13 famous Americans. Framed as a letter to his daughters (“Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?” the book begins), each double-page spread then asks a question that is exemplified by a person of note. “Have I told you that you are creative?” introduces Georgia O’Keeffe, who “helped us see big beauty in what is small: / the hardness of stone and the softness of feather.” Most of the people briefly profiled are expected names—George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, César Chávez—but there are a few outliers here as well, including Billie Holiday and Sitting Bull. As the spreads turn, other children join (the unnamed) Malia and Sasha on the question page, each embodying their own special gifts and talents. Long’s exceptional artwork has a timeless, Rockwellian quality that serves the text well, and the congregation of the children at the book’s conclusion will have readers looking and looking again. An addendum features a bit more about each person highlighted. Parents will be happy to talk to their own children about how creative or kind or strong they are and reiterate, as the president does, their place in the American family. — Ilene Cooper"—Booklist, starred review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Using the format of a letter to his daughters, President Obama asks on each double page, "Have I told you...?" First, "...that you are creative?" introduces Georgia O'Keefe as the artist example. "...that you are smart?" offers Albert Einstein. Other qualities he says his daughters share are bravery, with baseball player Jackie Robinson; being a healer, like Sitting Bull; a song, like Billie Holiday; strength, like Helen Keller; kindness, like Jane Addams; being an explorer like Neil Armstrong; inspiring, like Cesar Chavez; and proud to be an American, like George Washington. Also noted are Maya Lin, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln. In spare but inspiring language Obama notes that America "...is made up of people of every kind...they are all part of you...you are the future..." Girls the age of Obama's daughters are shown painted with acrylics with their dog on the jacket and then on the bare white left page gazing at a young example and at the detailed naturalistic illustration of the subject across the gutter. Each subsequent spread adds the example to the watchers gazing at the new example. Each carries a symbolic tool: brushes for the painter, a rocket ship for the explorer, etc. The growth of the observing crowd creates a sense of swelling waves until the final double-page spread depicts scores of youngsters of varying ethnicities added to those already on the scene, all with peaceful, happy expressions. The message is both positive and uplifting. There are added factual notes on all included people. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—In characteristically measured prose, the 44th President introduces 13 American icons and heroes as exemplars of personal virtues, from Georgia O'Keeffe (creativity) and Jackie Robinson (courage) to Helen Keller (strength) and Cesar Chavez (inspiration). Though he includes Billie Holiday in his gallery (a gifted singer, but an iffy role model) along with a free translation of Chavez's !Si se puede! as "Yes, you can!" (which was his campaign slogan: the official UFW version is a more accurate but stiffer "Yes, it can be done!"), Obama offers general but cogent summations of why each figure merits admiration—Martin Luther King Jr., for instance, "taught us unyielding compassion," and Helen Keller, "never waiting for life to get easier," "gave others courage to face their challenges." Long's superb technical gifts and gentle sense of humor shine in the pictures. Posed nobly and, usually, hard at work in full-page scenes, each man or woman also appears as a willowy but recognizable child on the facing and following pages, joining a growing crowd of young observers gazing across the center stitching and exchanging symbolic tools of their various trades. Their ranks swelled with more children, these younger versions turn to face viewers on the penultimate spread, followed by a closing painting of the author walking with his daughters and a page of reasonably accurate historical notes. As well as offering thought-provoking choices and commentary, this stately outing leads naturally to Lynne Cheney's more populous America: A Patriotic Primer (S & S, 2002) as first introductions to our country's great ones.—John Peters, formerly at New York Public Library

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780857530462
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
11/28/2010
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"If Barack Obama wants to quit his day job (and maybe he might), he can probably make it as a children’s book author. Certainly, this is a beautiful package: thoughtfully conceived, handsomely illustrated and designed, and with a tight yet evocative text that brings children into the world of 13 famous Americans. Framed as a letter to his daughters (“Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?” the book begins), each double-page spread then asks a question that is exemplified by a person of note. “Have I told you that you are creative?” introduces Georgia O’Keeffe, who “helped us see big beauty in what is small: / the hardness of stone and the softness of feather.” Most of the people briefly profiled are expected names—George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, César Chávez—but there are a few outliers here as well, including Billie Holiday and Sitting Bull. As the spreads turn, other children join (the unnamed) Malia and Sasha on the question page, each embodying their own special gifts and talents. Long’s exceptional artwork has a timeless, Rockwellian quality that serves the text well, and the congregation of the children at the book’s conclusion will have readers looking and looking again. An addendum features a bit more about each person highlighted. Parents will be happy to talk to their own children about how creative or kind or strong they are and reiterate, as the president does, their place in the American family. — Ilene Cooper"—Booklist, starred review

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >