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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/28/2008 Archived Entry: "Book Review: Yes We Can: A Biography of Barack Obama"

Yes We Can: A Biography of Barack Obama
Written by: Garen Thomas
Published by the Feiwel and Friends Imprint of Macmillan.
ISBN-10: 0-312-53709-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-53709-8
Review by Kris

Barack Obama

If you have never heard this name before you have either been living in a cave or under a rock. Barack Obama is the Democratic Party's presidential candidate (that is for those of you living in a cave or under a rock.) Garen Thomas has written this biography to introduce young readers to one of the most charismatic politicians of our time. I want to let you all know that when it comes to my political affiliations I am an independent voter. I vote on issues, not on the party. But thanks to this book, I have a new appreciation for this man.

I know that when the whole primary season started I didn't know much about Barack Obama. I knew that he had a white mother and an African father, he was born in Hawaii, spent some time in Indonesia, became a lawyer, lived in Chicago, served in the Illinois State legislature, and is the junior senator from Illinois. Other than that I was pretty clueless. When I read Yes We Can I learned so much more.

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii to a white woman and a black African man. Barack never really got to know his father because he was pretty young when his father had moved back to Kenya. Barack never really had much of a father. Because of that fact he realized the importance of having a father figure. While growing up he listened to the stories people who knew his father well. His father was larger than life, a real legend. Not only did he struggle with not having a father, but he also had a difficult time with his racial identity. During these years he started on his path of discovery. I don't want to go deeply into his life story. You'll have to read Yes We Can to glean more insight on this interesting politician.

Garen Thomas has written a great biography. This is written for children so the language is very direct and there aren't many detours. I would recommend this book to those in the fifth-grade on up. She gives information about other things throughout the book to help readers understand things even more. There are many quotes and pictures of Obama spanning his life so far. This was a captivating read and now I am able to see why he is so wildly popular. I learned many things and now have a different view of Senator Obama, especially while I watch debates and speeches. This book was written before the Democratic National Convention so at the time it was unknown who the presidential candidate would be. Of course, now we do. In the prologue, Garen Thomas let's us know her political leanings and in reading the book the evidence is subtle, but there. Thanks to this book I've now become a more informed voter. With its simplicity facts are laid out clearly and straightforward.

I'm still not planning on voting for Obama, but thanks to Yes We Can I have a new found respect for the man. It's possible, however, for me to change my mind.

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