All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier

by | Jan 30, 2009 | Blog | 4 comments

bookcover_barackobama_son_of_promiseOn the day of the inaugoration I made my daughter watch it on TV. She wasn’t happy about it . . . the whole thing about missing cartoons to a pre-schooler is you know . . .  the end of the world, but I really wanted to see it. I think most people can agree, even if you don’t like the man, that history was made that day. I wanted to watch it and I wanted her to watch it. She knew a little about being president that George W. Bush was the president and lived in the White House. It took a while for her to get into it and I’m not sure she did. However, we went to the library later that day and saw a book with Obama’s face on it and she wanted to get a book about the president. So I looked for a picture book and this was the first picture book I could find by Nikki Grimes.

Barack Obama Son of Promise, Child of Hope also fits under the one reading challenge I signed up for this year – Diversity Rocks,. (I’ll admit after reading about all the different challenges I was little more then overwhelmed. Especially for those whose dates to sign-up were over or didn’t count kid-lit).

So we liked the book. It starts with a boy named David and his mother watching some of the campaign on TV and David asks questions so she answers them throughout the book. My daughter  loved that format especially when she would ask the same question that David did such as can I be president. Apparently my five year old has some presidental aspirations of her own!

The majority of the book is based on Obama’s book Dreams from my Father. Grimes chronicles his life with his parents, dad from Kenya and mom from Kansas,  his struggles to understand his biracial background, divorced parents and his role in the world. His father who was largely absent and Barack looked to hope to help him through troubled times. The book strongly emphasizes hope, dreams, God and education – All of which help people achieve their goals. The illustrations are well done in water color and collage style and definitely accent the text well.

I chose this book because it is the only picture book about him that I am aware of and my daughter is 5 she doesn’t need a treatise about politicians, mudslinging and why somebody may or may not like him (I’m sure she will get enough of that as she gets older). Realize that most children’s books about presidents and other historical figures will focus on the positives and this one is no exception it even states that Obama will serve as bridge between white and black people with references to MLK and JFK.

It will be interesting to compare later biographies of Barack Obama written for children – particularly as his presidency plays out. As far as recommending the book this is my take on it. If you’re not a huge fan of his then you’ll probably not like the book, if you somewhat neutral if could go either way and if you like him you’ll probably like the book. Also as politics can be divisive in any forum please keep your comments respectful and nice and I will edit/delete comments that don’t follow those rules.

Author’s website Nikki Grimes and illustrator’s website Bryan Collier.

Other reviews

The Friendly Book Nook – This was an interesting book, although above the heads of my second graders. . . .A good and interesting read.

Mrs. F-Bs – It’s a good book, and I did like the illustrations a lot, but I didn’t love it.


  1. Britt

    Somehow presidential aspirations don’t surprise me.

  2. caribookscoops

    What gave it away? The way she tries to organize everything and tell people what to do.

  3. jd webb

    Love the post.

  4. America

    love it! It’s exactly what human beings look for…hope!


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