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"Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" by Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 12/15/2010, 1:45 a.m.
"Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" by Barack ObamaCourtesy Photo


As you grow up, your parents and grandparents have many good ideas for you.

First of all, they want you to remember that you're a wonderful kid and that they're happy to see you when you walk into a room. They hope you know that they're really proud of you and that you're loved very much.

But as you'll see in the new book "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" by Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long, they also have lots of bigger ideas for you, too.

Are you a creative kid? Then your parents and grandparents want you to use your talents wisely, like Georgia O'Keeffe. She was an artist who moved to the desert so she could paint pictures of small, simple things.

If you're smart - and you know you are - your parents want you to be like Albert Einstein, who changed the world with his ideas about energy and light.

When you're brave, they want you to remember Jackie Robinson, who opened doors and showed everyone that dreams really can happen. Billie Holiday did that, too, only she did it with songs of "sadness and joy."

Do you know how to honor others' sacrifices? Then your grandparents want you to be like a woman named Maya Lin, who created the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial so that we all can remember soldiers in war. She created the Civil Rights memorial, too, so we can recognize those who gave their lives for equality - like Martin Luther King Jr., who never gave up. The courage to never give up is another idea your grandparents have for you.

Do you like to inspire others? Then they want you to be like a man named Cesar Chavez who inspired farmworkers to stand up for their rights. Or you could be like Helen Keller, who inspired people to listen to one another; Jane Addams, who worked with the poor and inspired kindness; or Abraham Lincoln, who inspired cooperation.

Your parents and grandparents want you to grow up to be someone great, and that's going to be easy because all these people and their unique talents are already a part of you. It's true, because you are the future.

While "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" simply oozes with encouragement; and while author and President Barack Obama has written a love letter not only to Malia and Sasha, but to all children; and while I really enjoyed this book, only part of my enjoyment was for the words it contains.

Yes, Obama's story is one that children will want to hear repeatedly, but the appeal for me (and, I suspect, anyone under age 5) is the artwork. Award-winning illustrator Loren Long paints life into Obama's words, and though parents will cherish the text, kids will love "reading" the pictures.

Of course you have dreams for your kids. "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" will reveal a few. For you and your child, having this book on your shelf is a good idea.