Monday, August 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. President ~By Suzy Leopold

Today, August 4th, is the birthday of Barack Obama, our forty-fourth president of the United States of America. 
Happy Birthday to you, Mr. President. 

Happy Birthday Mr. Obama!
Do you know that Mr. Obama is an author of a children’s picture book? Of Thee I Sing was written for his daughters and published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2010. The nonfiction book is written as a sweet, 
Walnut, carrot, dried cranberry cake with cream cheese frosting.
tender letter to Malia and Sasha from their father.  Such a beautiful message that reminds the girls to follow their dreams and forge their own paths. 

Included in the book is a tribute to thirteen Americans from the past and the present along with their achievements, ideals and contributions that shaped our nation. 
Of Thee I Sing
The story begins . . . 

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?
Malia and Sasha Obama
Turning the pages of the book, Mr. Obama asks his girls several questions followed by information about a hero or a famous American who has made contributions to our country.    

Mr. and Mrs. Obama have instilled the importance of many core values, in Malia and Sasha, including honesty, humility, self-discipline and respect. In the book, Of Thee I Sing, the girls are reminded of their positive characteristics and the belief of important family and individual values, that encourages them to grow into strong, young women. Mr. Obama then compares those traits to many individuals whom are known for their greatness.
Have I told you that you are smart?
Albert Einstein
That you braid great ideas with imagination?
A man named Albert Einstein
turned pictures in his mind into giant advances in science, changing the world with energy and light.
Have I told you that you are inspiring?
César Chávez
A man named César Chávez showed farmworkers their own power when they felt they had none.
The people were poor but worked 
hard and loved the land. 
César picketed, prayed, and talked. 
The people listened to their hearts 
and marched for their rights.
“Sí se puede!”  “Yes, you can!”
The illustrations by Loren Long are expressive and reminiscent.  My favorite illustration depicts the innocence and promise of childhood and the hope for each one as they become our future leaders. The two page spread includes kids of all beliefs, races and religions, from the West coast to the East coast and all the states in between. This particular illustration, touches my heart, as I see a multicultural group of boys and girls, standing tall and proud, reminding me that America is a melting pot.
Have I told you that America is made up of people of every kind?
To learn more about the Americans featured in the book, a brief biography is written, including pertinent facts and data about each individual.  
Back Matter
The presidential family’s dog, Bo, is even illustrated by the award-winning artist of this book!

Books written about strong individuals, whom are people of character and depict positive role models, are important books to share with our youth. 

As a writer, consider the value of writing books with strong characters, for children to read, learn and grow.

This book is a true treasure.
Celebrate diversity!
May I serve you?


  1. Those are beautiful words. Thanks for sharing this book. I'm wondering if President Obama really wrote the words, or if a ghost writer wrote it. ?? If he really did, he's a great pb writer!

  2. Tina: Good question. I wonder about that also. My thoughts . . . a ghost writer was hired. The format and the concept of the book is an outstanding idea; a twist for writing nonfiction.

  3. Suzy, lovely job showing off the contents of the President's PB book. Cake looks delicious! Thanks for the post!

  4. Janie: Using our flower gardens as a backdrop was fun to do! I think you would enjoy the picture book written to Sasha and Malia. May I serve you a slice of carrot, walnut dried cranberry cake? It even has cream cheese frosting on it!

  5. Suzy, Give me the cake, now. AND, after reading this post, gov eke the book, NOW. Yes, I want to read it and I love how the nf is structured. Such a talented, brave man our Prez is.

  6. Kathy: Sending a big, virtual slice of birthday cake your way, along with a hug! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the book, Of Thee I Sing.

  7. Sydney: As I always believe, it is so important to learn and grow every day. You have piqued my curiosity with your comment. I note a memoir, Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and the book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, a campaign for presidency written by President Obama. I also discovered that Of Thee I Sing was written before he took office. All good facts and information that support Mr. Obama's gift of writing. Thank you for stopping by our GROG Blog. ~Suzy Leopold

  8. Hi Suzy/GG,
    Thank you for sharing THIS book. I have read it & passed it along so I don't have it handy. Maybe if our bizee Prez didn't write it, Michelle did? Let's see what the publisher says on the credit pages, sometimes the ghost w. will have a mention there. It's a lovely gift to all families & young readers. Thank you for sharing. And on President Obama's birthday.
    Sorry I'm late to the partee!!!
    Appreciations always,