Barack Obama 101 by Brad M. Epstein.
Michaelson Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA, 2008.
Informative non-fiction board book, 26 pages.
Barack Obama 101 packs a surprising amount of practical information into a board book, covering both basic facts about the presidency and Obama’s life up to his presidential election.
Every time I shop at my favorite used bookstore, I take a minute to peruse their used board books. They never have more than a few shelves, mostly of the same titles, so it doesn’t take long. And I’ve never purchased any there. Why look? I’m determined to create a diverse board book library, which means I can’t turn down a chance to find books that might be out of print and difficult to obtain.
Realistically, though, at best I’m hoping to find a Donald Crews book or maybe a Grace Lin. And the chances of even encountering those two are slim. So at the end of my latest shopping trip, when I dutifully scanned the shelves for anything diverse, I was overjoyed to see a new-to-me book about Barack Obama. It wasn’t in great condition. I’m normally picky about board books, but swooped this one up despite the writing and bite marks.
The book was published in 2008, so it doesn’t cover his actual presidency. There are two types of pages – pages with several pictures that have as much as two paragraphs of text, and pages with one photo as the entire background and a small amount of text over the photograph. They are nicely balanced, and the photos are intriguing enough that they will interest a small child (although maybe not a baby without parents leading them).
This is one of the rare board books that will work for a wide range of ages. Baby enjoyed chewing on this for short intervals and occasionally looking at a selection. He was not able to listen to it read, but we opened it and would say a few key words or phrases to get him connecting them to the book.
The older children devoured it, with my early reader struggling over each word for some time, and the others eagerly reading it. I think this may be the most popular book about Obama in our house (and we have several). Even visitors have expressed an interest, and I don’t mind letting toddlers play with it since it’s a sturdy, high-quality board book.
The final pages include an opening for a child’s picture to be slid in, and blank lines to list a child’s personal heroes (“friends, family, and favorite people”), so this can be personalized to fit your family.
I’d highly recommend this as a gift or purchase for your own family or early elementary classroom. It will grow with your children and provide more detail as they are able to absorb it.