I don’t usually participate in Nonfiction Monday, mostly because I’m generally not organized enough to do so. But today I’ll start my week of politics, elections, and um... Halloween with a biography.
First, let me say it makes no sense to me when people or campaigns say that we don’t know Barack Obama. With two books, numerous articles, twenty-two months on the campaign trail, and umpteen episodes of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, what’s left to know?
But for people who may want a quick version of the man, let me recommend Yes We Can: A Biography of Barack Obama, by Garen Thomas. I won this from the raffle drawing at the Kidlitosphere Conference. Greg got the picture book Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, but I like my book better anyway. (Nyah-nyah!) Written for older elementary school kids, the book covers Obama’s life story with an interesting narrative. The first two-thirds of the book seem drawn very strongly from his autobiography, Dreams from My Father. The last third fills in the rest of the story, namely his law school and political years. The book includes lots of photos, and chapters are separated by quotes from Obama including a section of his New Hampshire primary speech, “Yes We Can.”
Having gone to press before the Democratic primaries ended, Yes We Can misses most of 2008 in its coverage. And, of course, it will also miss the result of the election, now eight days away. It doesn’t have the personal depth and elegant writing of Dreams from My Father or the policy implications of The Audacity of Hope, but for kids or adults who want to know who Barack Obama is, this title is a great place to start.