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Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope    by Nikki Grimes & Bryan Collier Amazon.com order for
Barack Obama
by Nikki Grimes
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Nikki Grimes' picture book is an excellent way for young readers to become acquainted with highlights of Barack Obama's life growing up 'From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya'. In verse format, Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope is narrated by a mother telling her son about the man on television.

'They used to call him Barry. / His family stretched / from Kansas to Kenya, / his mama, white as whipped cream, / his daddy, black as ink. / His mama's folks, Gramps and Toot, / were part of the first family / he ever knew. / Love was the bridge / that held them all together.' His playmates were from different countries, including Portugal, China, India, and Japan.

Barry oft puzzled over 'Who am I?' A friend told him 'You must choose your own way.' As he pondered issues in his mind, 'Listen, said Hope. And he did.' Family members encouraged him in education 'as the key, the secret, the way, and the path ... Remember: It's in the blood.' He studied 'in the shadow of Pali's peak, / in the shadow of the Hollywood sign, / in the shadow on Langston's Harlem'. He was not immune to people calling him bad names, and one day he decided that he would take his birth name Barack.

Hope again spoke to Barack as he jogged along the Hudson River. He campaigned door-to-door, on the street, morning and night, encouraging people to march together to help human conditions. One Sunday in church he got his answer. And from then he travelled to many countries, while 'a small voice spoke to his heart', and Barack Obama took his place in history!

Nikki Grimes received the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, and among her Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books are: Jasmin's Notebook; Dark Sons; The Road to Paris, and Bronx Masquerade. Bryan Collier's illustrations (he's an award-winning author as well) are beyond spectacular, with vibrant colors, and excellent representation of characters' faces.

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