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Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama
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Of Thee I Sing (2010)

by Barack Obama

Other authors: Loren Long (Illustrator)

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I have read the book and you can see just how much President Obama loves his daughters. It is shared within the book and how he expresses his love for each of them. This is a great book for dad all over the world to sit and read to their daughter or daughter and it will start a conversation with father and daughter and relationships. This give you hope on keeping your dreams alive. ( )
  bhuger1 | Oct 19, 2014 |
The subtitle of this book is "a letter to my daughters." Without reading the book, this description makes you think it is more an intimate statement that is from President Obama to his two girls. While it may have started out as that, the illustrations of Loren Long make it an open letter of hope and pursuing your dreams that apply to every young American.

A famous person is identified for each characteristic that the author identifies in his two young girls. Georgia O'Keefe stands for creativity; Albert Einstein is smart; Jackie Robinson is brave; Sitting Bull is a healer; Billie Holiday shows us that we all have our own song; Helen Keller is strong; Maya Lin reminds us that it is important to honor others' sacrifices; Jane Adams is kind; don't give up is the message from Martin Luther King Jr.; Neil Armstrong is an explorer; Cesar Chavez is inspiring; Abraham Lincoln reminds us that we are part of a family; George Washington makes us proud to be American. And overall we are reminded that America is a melting pot of all different kinds of people and we are part it.

As each famous person is identified and explained, the opposite page shows the two young girls, as well as a young version of the famous person, looking on. It reminds us that each of these people was young and had to realize their potential. We all have that within us.

As the story progresses, each famous person joins the two girls until quite a group is viewing. I love how the young characters also interact - they share their tools with each other. It reminds me of sharing time in some classrooms, where children are so eager to touch and experience the items that are special and important to their classmates. ( )
  stephanie.croaning | Sep 28, 2014 |
I came to like "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters" for various reasons. The book immediately starts off with a warm and loving tone due to Obama expressing in a poem how wonderful his daughters are. How the sound of their running feet brings dancing rhythms to his day, and how their laughs bring sunshine into a room. I appreciate how the language and the writing of this book came together very well. There is a consistent pattern of asking clear, one sentence questions on the left-side pages of the book, and a short biography of a historical figure on the right-side pages. For example, on one left-side page, “Have I told you that you don't give up?” is written. Then, on the next page, there would be a concise, inspirational biography on Martin Luther King Jr. The questions in this book make it engaging for readers as they look forward to how the theme of the questions and the biographies are related. The first person point of view questions make the book feel personal, and then the third point of view biographies makes the book informational. It is a two for one deal. I also loved how each piece of detail of the illustrations enhanced the story powerfully. The left-side of pages would be a clear white background with Obama's two daughters looking towards the child versions of the historical figures that were talked of one by one. Each picture on the right-side perfectly entailed what kind of impact a historical figure made. One page shares how brave Jackie Robinson was for being the first African-American to play American baseball. The illustration shows a black and white background consisting of angry caucasian faced men while Jackie Robinson is featured in the middle of the crowd in color, swinging his bat fearlessly. The main idea of "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters" is to inspire readers to be proud citizens and build up their nation with their own unique gifts and goals. As Obama says near the end of the story, children are the future of America. ( )
  yyoon4 | Sep 25, 2014 |
This book is President Barack Obama's open letters to his daughters, telling them about various characteristics he sees in them that he admires. He then links each characteristic to a famous American who also displayed the same characteristic.

I wanted to like this book, perhaps just because I loved Loren Long's illustrations so much. As usual, he does not disappoint, and his illustrations are breathtakingly lovely. There is, of course, the controversial illustration of Sitting Bull, the only Native American Indian featured, being depicted as literally part of the land rather than a person in his own right like everyone else in the book. The controversy notwithstanding, it is a well-executed - if poorly chosen - design.

Yet overall the book itself felt kind of flat. I like the idea of linking positive attributes with historical figures, which can give children a sense of purpose and/or motivation if they feel lagging or wonder why they even bother being a good person. But there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to anything here. The historical figures mentioned range from Revolutionary War figures to near contemporary ones, although they are by no means listed in a chronological fashion. and their contributions are anywhere from artistic to political to scientific and everywhere in between. It's not that I object to the people included per se, it's more that it just felt like the selection and placement was completely random.

Perhaps as is often the case when someone pens something for a specific audience and then decides to also try to sell it for a broader one, it seemed like this book is something Obama's daughters should embrace as a lovely gift from their father. But meanwhile, the rest of us are just eavesdropping on a conversation we aren't really a part of after all. That being said though, it does appear that many people other than me did enjoy this book greatly and get a lot out of it, so as always, this review is just my opinion and that opinion is not often the majority one. I could see how this book could be useful as a jumping off point to talk about one or more of the historical figures mentioned, but this isn't the learning tool I would pick out first myself. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Mar 2, 2014 |
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama is an informational book that teaches about diversity and American History. Each page begins with a question such as: "Have I told you that you are creative?" Then introduces a person from our American History that was creative: "A woman names Georgia O'Keeffe moved to the desert and painted petals, bone, nark. She helped us see big beauty in what is small:the hardness of stone and the softness of feather." Some others included in this book are: Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson, Billie Holiday, Helen Keller and many others.

This would be a good book to introduce to students when beginning a unit on biographies. Each student could choose a person from this book or elsewhere to research and learn more about. This book also addressed diversity issues that could be addressed within the classroom. ( )
  mstanley33 | Dec 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Obama appears to have turned away all help with the writing of his children's story: The book reads like it really is a letter from a very busy dad-president - no rhythm, no rhyme, no rat-a-tat-tat. What's a children's tale without a fancy step or two? "Of Thee I Sing" sadly has no melody.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barack Obamaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Long, LorenIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Michelle-- whose fierce love and daily good sense have norished such wonderful daughters. --B.O.
To my sons, Griff and Graham. --L.L.
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Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 037583527X, Hardcover)

Take a Look Inside Of Thee I Sing
Click on the photos below to view the full spreads from the book.


You Are Part of a Family
You Have Your Own Song
You Are a Healer

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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"--Book jacket.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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