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Comment: Moderate wear on cover and edges. Minimal highlighting and/or other markings can be present. May be ex-library copy and may not include CD, Accessories and/or Dust Cover. Good readable copy.
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Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters Hardcover – Nov 16 2010

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Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters + Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance + The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Nov. 16 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037583527X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375835278
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 1 x 31.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"If Barack Obama wants to quit his day job (and maybe he might), he can probably make it as a children’s book author. Certainly, this is a beautiful package: thoughtfully conceived, handsomely illustrated and designed, and with a tight yet evocative text that brings children into the world of 13 famous Americans. Framed as a letter to his daughters (“Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?” the book begins), each double-page spread then asks a question that is exemplified by a person of note. “Have I told you that you are creative?” introduces Georgia O’Keeffe, who “helped us see big beauty in what is small: / the hardness of stone and the softness of feather.” Most of the people briefly profiled are expected names—George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, César Chávez—but there are a few outliers here as well, including Billie Holiday and Sitting Bull. As the spreads turn, other children join (the unnamed) Malia and Sasha on the question page, each embodying their own special gifts and talents. Long’s exceptional artwork has a timeless, Rockwellian quality that serves the text well, and the congregation of the children at the book’s conclusion will have readers looking and looking again. An addendum features a bit more about each person highlighted. Parents will be happy to talk to their own children about how creative or kind or strong they are and reiterate, as the president does, their place in the American family. — Ilene Cooper"—Booklist, starred review

About the Author

Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the United States. Born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, he himself is now the father of two daughters, Malia and Sasha. It was spending time with them that inspired him to write Of Thee I Sing.

About the Illustrator

Loren Long is the bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of many beloved books for children, including Drummer Boy and the New York Times bestseller Otis. Born in Missouri and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, he is also the illustrator of Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could, as well as Toy Boat, I Dream of Trains, and Wind Flyers. He lives in Ohio with his wife, Tracy, their two sons, Griffith and Graham, and their dogs, Elle and Moon.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband gave me the book for Christmas. It was amazing. I truly thought it was wonderful. A great read. We are grandparents so it was nice to see a man in his position telling his children how great they are. I don't think there is enough of that these days. I would recommend it to to anyone. Thank you so much.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book that celebrates many American accomplishments! The illustrations of diverse children make it wonderful.
Inspiring as all of Mr. Obama's books are!
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By eep! on May 27 2014
Format: Hardcover
This must be my favourite children's book ever. It's one of a kind, wonderfully written, and should be taught in schools.
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By Fivelabmama on Aug. 21 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful pictures, a joy to behold.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 327 reviews
186 of 211 people found the following review helpful
Get it just for the illustrations... Nov. 18 2010
By ALB - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All politics aside, this really is a beautiful book with a wonderful message. I hope that people who dislike President Obama's choices in office will not cast aside this book without taking a look first. The pictures are absolutely incredible, and I will definitely be checking out more books that Loren Long has illustrated. I agree with some of the other reviewers that some of the examples of great Americans seem a little odd, but I appreciate the sentiments behind all of them, and I think this book could inspire young readers to learn more about some of these people. I like that there is a short bio of each person in the back of the book, as I did not know who Jane Addams was. It is obvious that the book is trying to appeal to a wide range of people, and I think this is as it should be...the core message of the book is that our country is made up of all types of people and that we all bring different talents and ideas to the table. Some of the writing is really beautiful, but some of it does seem a little stilted, and some of the word choices make me wonder what age group this book was really written for.

I hope that everyone will note that President Obama wrote this book before he was in office and that 100% of the profits are being donated to a charity for the children of disabled veterans. I think it is a hard heart indeed that could not agree that this is a beautiful book being sold for a good cause.
362 of 418 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful! Nov. 16 2010
By Mary Kate - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Aimed at young children, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters offers brief glimpses of how the contributions of a single person can touch lives, inspire others and sometimes, change the course of history. Written before he became president, Obama here chooses a baker's dozen Americans to illustrate traits such as courage, creativity and intelligence that he sees in his daughters and encourages young people to find and develop in themselves. Those chosen - including George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Billie Holliday, Cesar Chavez, Helen Keller & Sitting Bull - capture ethnic diversity and include a good balance of men and women.

While the text is sparse, the President has a nice turn of phrase and the accompanying artwork by Loren Long is simply wonderful. Best of all, though, is the subject, which offers a great jumping off point for parents to talk to their children, not only about the people profiled, but of their own talents and opportunities and of the importance of contributing to society.

I have something of a love affair with cover art and I just want to note that the cover of this book really appeals to me. The image of two young girls (Sasha and Malia Obama with their dog, Bo, but representative of all children) marching along with a spring in their step beautifully conveys an air of optimism and confidence - two things I long to see in all children and that our country could use more of at this time.

Highly recommended.
86 of 109 people found the following review helpful
Have I told you...? Nov. 17 2010
By Michelle R - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No matter what your age, this book is simply lovely. It celebrates the potential in our children, the seeds of greatness we must nurture. The illustrations are simple and beautiful, enhancing the poetry and meaning of the text. (The illustrator is Loren Long.) The girls, clearly meant to represent Sasha and Malia, are told about the qualities they possess and then told about someone who exemplifies that quality -- that person as a child is then shown to be standing next to the girls until there's a crowd of children standing together.

At the back of the book is a little more about each person represented in the book so that, hopefully, an interest in learning even more might be fostered.

The people represented are:

Georgia O'Keefe
Albert Einstein
Jackie Robinson
Sitting Bull
Billie Holiday
Helen Keller
Maya Lin
Jane Addams
Dr. Martin Luther King
Neil Armstrong
Cesar Chavez
Abraham Lincoln
& George Washington

The attributes honored include kindness, bravery, persistence, patriotism, honoring the sacrifices of others, and creativity.

Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?
How the sound of your feet
running from afar
brings dancing rhythms to my day?
How you laugh
and sunshine spills into the room?

5 stars.
132 of 173 people found the following review helpful
"Have I told you?" Beautiful for his daughters and for charity! Nov. 16 2010
By NovelAddict - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This letter to the Obama daughters is inspiring for children and adults alike. This children's book is uplifting and unexpectedly informational while paying homage to thirteen icons that helped change and shape this country. The introduction to each great American visionary starts with seemingly simple words, "Have I told you. . . ?". This book is beyond creative, full of love, and well rounded. Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters is diverse, promotes equality, and without a doubt has the power to inspire every person with the snippets of courageous, patriotic, and brilliant Americans.

Award-winning Loren Long did an amazing job illustrating President Barack Obama's meaningful words. His artwork is simply sensational, and begins with Malia and Sasha standing by themselves when their father first asks, "Have I told you?". As Barack Obama teaches his daughters of a these amazing Americans, the visuals quickly turn into the girls standing with children that reflect the strengths of the American figures previously mentioned. The illustration concept is not only heartwarming but genius, and I found myself excited to view the upcoming pages.
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Very Sweet Dec 12 2010
By Penelope53 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was touched at how sweet the letter was written. The tender and proud words told me this was a man who truly loves his girls. I smiled at the dedication to his wife and thought a mother's fierce love is what is most needed in today's world.