Through Children's Eyes: President Obama and the Future Generation


This book examines how school-age children and youth in the United States, Sierra Leone, West Africa, Jamaica, China, and Russia made meaning of the election of Barack Obama as the first non-White President of the United States. The book is developed from an international research study exploring how children and youth around the world understood Obama's messages. The book further examines whether youth believed race relations in their country or human relations in the world might change as a result of this ...
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This book examines how school-age children and youth in the United States, Sierra Leone, West Africa, Jamaica, China, and Russia made meaning of the election of Barack Obama as the first non-White President of the United States. The book is developed from an international research study exploring how children and youth around the world understood Obama's messages. The book further examines whether youth believed race relations in their country or human relations in the world might change as a result of this historic election. Children made vibrant drawings of "what President Obama means to me," revealing their innermost thoughts and secrets. Youth also revealed how they learned about Obama, including their surprising one-word impressions of him. The rich contents of the book, the issues it raises, and the insights it provides will offer readers a unique opportunity to look into the minds of the future generation around the world.
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What People Are Saying

Greta Olson
"Through Children's Eyes is an important book. It documents the effect of Barack Obama's 2008 election on school-aged children in a number of countries to show how he has become a figure of hope and the personification of peace and an end of racism in many places around the world. The book very carefully traces differences in school-age children's and youths' reactions to Obama's election in the form of their drawings of the president and their answers to questions about how they learned about him and how he has impacted on their lives. Quite patently, the children's drawings speak volumes: In Sierra Leone a youth depicts him as a Big Man. In China, children and youth draw him, incredibly movingly, with Asian features. And in Russia, he is depicted alternatively as bringing peace between the two nations or as a figure of violence. Thus Through Children's Eyes is not undifferentiated in its analysis of the Obama effect on children in five very different nations. The book is to be highly recommended both for those interested in political education and development and those wishing to inquire into the effect of the Obama presidency beyond the provenance of the United States."
--Greta Olson, Professor at Institut f?r Anglistik, Justus-Liebig-Universitat, Giessen, Germany
Melissa Harris-Perry
"Politics uses children as symbols all the time. Candidates kiss babies. Elected officials decry policies as bad for kids or promote them as good for future generations. But as much as politics often uses children as symbols, few take the attitudes, opinions, or emotions of children seriously enough to ask kids themselves what they are thinking and feeling. In this important new book a group of respected researchers corrects this deficit by making children the subject of a smart inquiry into the current political and racial environment. The authors rightly point to the election of President Obama as a meaningful shift in American racial politics and ask, how the symbolic and substantive reality of a black president changes how children around the world perceive America, opportunity, and their own life chances. It is a compelling, serious, and often surprising book that deserves a wide readership. No other texts asks and answers these critical questions that desperately need answers. This book takes us around the world in a fascinating exploration of the minds of the world's youth as they witness the Obama moment."
--Melissa Harris-Perry, Professor at Tulane University, and host of "Melissa Harris-Perry" on MSNBC, USA
Ivory A. Toldson
"Through Children's Eyes provides a unique perspective on President Obama's ascent, from the world's most valuable resource, our children. The authors masterfully organize children's prose and art to give a rare glimpse at how [children believe] current events will shape tomorrow. The book is awe-inspiring and fun. It will stimulate the highbrow, while entertaining the leisure reader. The book embodies the landscape of a new world, with bigger dreams, looser boundaries and deeper human connections."
--Ivory A. Toldson, Associate Professor at Howard University, Senior Research Analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Negro Education, USA
Frank H. Wu
"The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 was an historic moment for our diverse democracy. We are only now beginning to understand its profound significance. This book is an excellent start for our much-needed dialogue. The voices of the next generation show how far we have come and how far they will take us."
--Frank H. Wu, Chancellor and Dean of the Hastings College of the Law, University of California, USA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781926780061
  • Publisher: Key Publishing House Incorporated, The
  • Publication date: 8/16/2012
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Helen Bond, Ph.D. Dr. Bond is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at Howard University. She received an undergraduate degree in Education from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts degree in Communication from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in Human Development from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. Her dissertation focused on education and human development in West Africa, where she conducted anthropological field work in Ghana. She was awarded the 2012 Inspirational Interdisciplinary Project at Howard University for her interdisciplinary teaching and research in a course entitled Social Media and Political Change in Africa. She was selected as a 2011-2012 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in education in India where she spent a semester lecturing and conducting research on teacher education and women's empowerment. She has published articles in the Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide, International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, Journal of Transformative Education, Handbook of Research on Culturally Aware Technology, and the Weekly Journal of Higher Education published by the Association of Indian Universities. She also authored chapters in the Pathways to the Holocaust and the award winning Evoking Genocide chosen as the "Outstanding Academic Title" for 2010 by Choice Magazine, the leading journal of librarians around the English-speaking world.

Dr. Bernadine Barr, Ph.D. Dr. Barr is a Professor (Collegiate Professor) at the University of Maryland, University College. She received an undergraduate degree from Brown University, a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Child and Adolescent Development from Stanford University School of Education. After college, Dr. Barr served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cuzco, Peru. During her postdoctoral years at Stanford University School of Education and Stanford University School of Medicine, she traveled to Hungary to discuss possible ways to improve the outcomes of children living in institutions. She has 12 years of experience designing and teaching courses in teacher education, multicultural child development, parenting, race relations, and global migrants and refugees. She co-authored book-length commentaries published for online courses in ethnic relations and in race relations. Dr. Barr is a mentor to faculty members who are new to online teaching.

Dr. Izolda Fotiyeva received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., from The Ural State University, Russia and Russian Academy of Science. In 2005, Dr. Fotiyeva joined the faculty of the Howard University School of Education where she teaches mathematics and science courses to help preservice teachers be more effective with children in K-12 schools. She published two books, Math with Mom in 2003, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Algebra Word Problems in 2010. In 2002 she was nominated for an Emmy Award as a producer of WHUT Television station's flagship show Evening Exchange with Kojo Nnamdi. In 2004, she won the Telly Award for producing.

Dr. Fang Wu is an Associate Professor and Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator in the School of Education at Howard University. She received her B.A., from Beijing Normal University, M.A., from University of Pittsburgh, and Ph.D. from UCLA. Dr. Wu's research foci are on social and emotional development of children in China and in the United States, parenting effect on child development, and children adopted from China by American parents. She is also interested in developmentally appropriate curriculum and teaching practice in early childhood education. Dr. Wu has twice received the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad awards to take American teachers to China for cultural studies. She has also received the 2011 Fulbright Specialist Program award to teach in a university in China.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9

Chapter 1 Listening to Children 11

Introduction 11

Evoking Children 12

Studying Children 15

Bringing Children into View 16

News from Overseas 19

Children from Overseas 19

Inside the Book 20

Chapter 2 Shaping the Study 23

Question 23

Method 23

Process 24

Focus 24

Concerns 25

Instrument 25

Sample 26

Analysis 27

Reliability and Validity 28

Responses 29

Drawings 30

Wordles 32

Ethics 32

Chapter 3 Children in the United States 35

Introduction 35

Demographics 36

Questions 36

Father, Family, and Neighborhood 37

Race, Identity, and Inspiration 53

The Obama Effect 73

Summary 79

Chapter 4 Children in Sierra Leone 81

Continent of Light 81

Proud to be an African 82

Lost Childhoods 83

Reconstructed Childhoods 84

Why Sierra Leone 85

Mountains with Lions 86

Findings 88

Learning about Obama 112

Summary 116

Chapter 5 Children in Jamaica 119

Introduction 119

Sweet Jamaica 120

Findings 123

Change in the World 124

Invisible Children 130

Obama and Me 135

Inspiration and Resistance 136

Learning about Obama 139

Conclusion 140

Color Insert 145

Chapter 6 Children in China 161

Research Procedures 163

Administration of the Questionnaire 166

Data Analysis and Interpretation 167

Making Meaning of What the Chinese Children Told Us: A Brief Summary 210

Chapter 7 Children in Russia 215

New Russian Nationalism 218

Racism in Modern Russia 219

Research Procedure 221

President Barack Obama in One Word 223

Change in the World 226

Obama and Me 229

How did you Learn about President Obama? 232

Drawings about President Obama and the USA 233

Summary 243

Chapter 8 President Obama in One Word 249

Children Around the World 250

Children in the United States 250

Children in Sierra Leone 253

Children in Jamaica 256

Children in China 259

Children in Russia 263

Chapter 9 Children's Drawings from Around the World 267

Drawings by Children in the United States 268

Drawings by Children in Sierra Leone 276

Drawings by Children in Jamaica 282

Drawings by Children in China 286

Drawings by Children in Russia 292

Chapter 10 A World Fit for Children 301

A Set of Findings 301

A Protector of Children 305

A Hand to Help along the Way 307

A Place at the Table 309

A Post-Xenophobic World 310

A Global Awakening 312

A Different Study 313

About the Authors 317

References 321

Index 337

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