Book: Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Author: Barack Obama; Illustrated by Loren Long
Opening Line: “Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?”
Closing Line: “And have I told you that I love you?”
Synopsis: President Obama’s foray into children’s books, an ode of empowerment to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, uses each page to compliment them for an admirable character trait and then describes a famous American who exemplified it. In what is possibly the only thing his book has in common with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s latest, Obama extols the virtues of George Washington. Others in the president’s pantheon: Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., artists Georgia O’Keefe and Billie Holliday, community organizers Jane Addams and Cesar Chavez, and baseball great and racial-barrier breaker Jackie Robinson. His most unusual choice: Sitting Bull, the Sioux leader who fought the U.S. government and won a battle against George Armstrong Custer’s troops at Little Big Horn.
Publication Date: November 16, 2010
Number of Pages: 30
List Price: $17.99
(Sasha’s minus Malia’s) Birthday Sentence: ((6/10/2001) – (7/4/1998)) = (6+10+2001) – (7+4+1998) = 2017 – 2009 = pg. 8: “Have I told you that you are a healer?”
Takeaway: Granted, this is a children’s book. Still, Obama, who wrote it before taking office, uses it to showcase his vision of a multicultural America – a vision that was reflected in his electoral coalition. “Have I told you that America is made up of people of every kind?” he writes. “People of all races, religions, and beliefs.” Ten of the thirteen Americans he praises are female or minorities. Unlike Gingrich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, conservatives who exalt the visions of the founders and see the best way forward as a return to forgotten principles, Obama’s vision of America's greatness is focused on the nation's increasingly diverse future.
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