By Nicole Pesce
Barack Obama has written two best-sellers for adults, but his first children's work, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters," (Knopf, $17.99) hit shelves this week.
The 31-page picture book for ages three and up celebrates 13 American heroes, from baseball great Jackie Robinson to Sioux chief Sitting Bull and Martin Luther King, Jr., who each embody qualities that Obama sees in his daughters Sasha and Malia.
At Brooklyn's Central Library, a group of very opinionated tots gave the President's latest efforts a glowing review.
"It's inspiring," said Diavione Oliver, 7. "The book encourages people to do what they did. It's kind of funny and smart."
Her brother Rob, 5, was so thrilled by the book, he jumped out of his seat to point at his favorite pictures. "I liked the astronaut [Neil Armstrong] because I want to go to the moon," he said.
Parents were equally impressed. "I was just asking the librarians where I can get a copy! I thought it was great," said Gilbert Williams from Flatbush, whose son Umi, 5, enjoyed Albert Einstein's section best because "I really like science."
Mom Tanya Moses from Flatbush was pleased that the First Dad is reaching out to the next generation. "It's nice that the president would make a book for children," she said, holding her daughter Savannah Jiggetts, 2. "I would definitely buy it."
The book highlights a diverse cross-section of Americans of different genders, races and jobs. "It's really inspirational language," says Andrea Vaughn, the library's youth services coordinator.
Obama wrote the heartfelt letter to his daughters between the 2008 election and his 2009 inauguration, with publication awaiting award-winning artist Loren Long's illustrations.
He's donating his share of the profits to a scholarship program run by the Fisher House Foundation, which benefits the children of fallen and disabled service workers.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski