book reviews

December 30, 2010

Courtesy of Beaverdale Books


Reviewed by Julie Goodrich


‘Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters’

By Barack Obama

Alfred A. Knopf



40 pp

The history of 13 amazing, talented, important Americans is told in lovely, flowing prose by the leader of the free world. Illustrated by the incomparable Loren Long, award winner for his fantastic “Otis,” this dreamy but powerful letter is a top seller this holiday season for many good reasons.

Beginning with the line, “Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?” and continuing on this lovely, positive note, the book tells the tales of historical heroes such as Georgia O’Keefe honored for her creativity, Jackie Robinson chosen for his bravery, Sitting Bull portrayed as a healer and Abraham Lincoln, picked to show the importance of family. There are lessons here, and stories to be told, but the text is simple and short, rather than intense or preachy. There is a light, rhythmic quality to the writing that touches on important topics and times in history without being dull. It truly captures the imagination.

This gorgeous book, filled with subtly beautiful pictures, would be a wonderful addition to any young child’s library. The graceful, almost old fashioned artwork suits the cadence of the words perfectly and retains enough complexity that it will take more than one or two reads to really appreciate the beauty Loren Long has created. Regardless of politics or the position of the author — this book was actually written before he was president — this powerful book can show children how the contributions of a single person can inspire millions, change the course of history or even just fuel the imaginations of children. CV


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