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Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
by Barak Obama
Illustration by Loren Long

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. Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood. This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation's founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.

Age: 4 Year-olds | Title: Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters  |  Author: Barak Obama  |  Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

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. Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood. This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation's founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.

It's not every day one has the opportunity to read a children's book written by the President of the United States. Of Thee I Sing, by President Barack Obama, is written in the form of a letter to his daughters. He encourages them to dream big and make a difference in the world. Each page refers to a remarkable historical figure who made a difference for the United States. The names vary greatly from Georgia O'Keeffe, Cesar Chavez, and Albert Einstein, to Martin Luther King Jr., Sioux leader Sitting Bull, and Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Civil Rights Memorial. The pages follow a fun format; the left page asks a question referencing the individual being featured, such as, "Have I told you that you have your own song?" when Billie Holiday, in vibrant oil paints, is featured on the right page.  Below her picture is four lines describing who she was and what she is remembered for. With each flip of the page, the previously featured individuals appear on the left page. However, they are much smaller and have their backs to the readers, as they are interacting with the story and staring at the next person in large paint on the right page.   

By the end of the book, you and your child can make a game of remembering who each of the individuals were, or at least what they were remembered for. Depending on your child's interest, they may be drawn to some of the featured individuals more than others. Indulge their questions and encourage more. You can always refer to additional people as well. Explain to them who the author is, perhaps helping them understand that he is the president, just like two of the people featured in this book, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Encourage your child to close their eyes and try to guess what they are feeling, like Helen Keller had to do. Or ask them what they think it would feel like to walk on the moon like Neil Armstrong.

I was so excited to learn that the president of the U.S. found children's books important enough o write one - while he is still in office!  I read this book to my four-year-old friend Erik. He loved the last two-page spread, which featured around 60 children standing in a crowd, but all looking unique. Erik studied that page and got excited when he found a boy he thought looked like him. He proceeded to find a girl who looked like me (I don't recall having long red hair, but hey, at least he was thinking of me) and one who looked like his sister. I told him that all people look a little different, which is what makes them unique, and he will meet many friends like the kids in this book when he starts school next year.
 
--Audra

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