This "Young Reader's Edition" photo essay of Barack Obama and his historic trip to the White House begins with the dynamic impact, especially for African-Americans, of his election. Although definitely positive in tone, the book does not omit information about his difficult early life, his rebellious youth, or past U.S. history, for example "The Scars of Yesterday." The design of the book is superb, with images throughout the eight chapters that show and evoke myriad emotions. The photographs are magnificent but do not overpower the engaging text. Obama's life story is told through multiple mini-stories; his fast rise in politics, for example, is described by recounting that daughter Malia asked, when he was elected senator in 2004, if he would try to be president. "Then a follow-up question so sensible it could only come from a first-grader, �Shouldn't you be vice president first?' (p. 13)." Quality white paper, clear serif font, multiple photographs on every page, and colored red or blue boxes with Obama quotes liberally sprinkled throughout make this a book to be read and cherished. It is highly recommended for all ages. Reviewer: Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ph.D.
This scaled down, teen-friendly version of The New York Times's adult biography is geared for middle school students. Containing many of the same photos, it provides a brief overview of the President's life, information that has been revealed over the election year and during his administration. Obama rarely saw his father, who returned to his native Kenya when Obama was young. His parents divorced, and his mother married an Indonesian, moving and leaving Obama in the care of his maternal grandmother through most of high school. Abramson covers the President's education and his community organizing/voter registration activities. He became involved in local and national politics and, although a U.S. Senator for only two years, he was chosen to give the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The decision to run for the Presidency was difficult as was the campaign. Obama highlights important people in the President's life, his daily routine, superstitions, likes, and dislikes. It steers clear, for the most part, of his political beliefs. This biography lacks detail, providing only a thumbnail sketch of Obama's life. Its allure is in the many photographs with captions, sidebars, speech quotes, and charts. The book is nicely organized. The writing is direct and simple, explaining things such as convention delegates. Although generally apolitical, the book puts Obama-the-man in a positive light. It mentions the Sarah Palin/Tina Fey Saturday Night Live skit and contains a bullet-point outline of the differences between McCain and Obama ideology. Obama's once-close friendship with and ultimate distancing from the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. is also discussed. The bookshould entice young readers to explore his life further. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
Gr 3–7—Lavishly illustrated with large photographs, a family tree, maps, and insets with political quotes, this journal of the historic rise and election of Barack Obama is both informative and stunning. The president's family, education, political life, and 2008 campaign are all given extensive coverage. Political terms such as "delegate," "primary," and "caucus" are explained in colorful sidebars. Useful for research and recreational reading, this title will engage readers from start to finish as they relive these recent events. Descriptions of the Obama campaign include the use of texting and the Internet to raise funds, promote the candidate, and examine party issues. Also highlighted are insights from those who participated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement and the focus on "change" coming to America. The writing, research, and photography are of superior quality. A must-purchase.—Nancy Baumann, Indian Paintbrush Elementary, Laramie, WY