Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope

Nikki Grimes
Illustrator:  Bryan Collier 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2008   ISBN: 978-1416971443

One day David is watching the television when he sees someone on the screen who intrigues him. He asks his mother about the man, and she tells him that he is called Barack Obama. David has no idea who Barack Obama is, so his mother tells her son Barack's life story.

When he was a boy Barack Obama's family called him Barry. His mother was as " white as whipped cream" and his father was as "black as ink." Barry grew up in Hawaii with his mother and her "folks." When his parents divorced and his father left Hawaii Barry was very hurt and sad, but his family helped him come to terms with what had happened. Occasionally Barry saw his father, and they exchanged letters.

When he was a teenager Barry began to wonder and who he was. He was not like his father or his mother. He was told that he was unique and that he would have to "choose your own way." And, after listening to what his family had to say, Barry came to understand that he need to get a good education and find something meaningful to do with his life.

As he grew up Barack came to see that there was a big gulf between whites and blacks. He hoped that one day he would find a way to "be the bridge" between the two worlds that he was born into.

In this lyrical and touching picture book Nikki Grimes beautifully captures the hope that Barack Obama's story and his achievements brought to all Americans, white and black, during the 2008 presidential election. We now know that Barack Obama won that election, and knowing that Americans will have a black president in the White House for the first time has excited people all over the world. This book shows readers how special Barack Obama is, and how he was inspired to be the man he is today.