BARACK by Jonah Winter

BARACK

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

Winter brings all the passion he can muster to this picture-book biography of the Democratic presidential candidate, to whom he dedicates the book. Questions of identity form the theme of the brief account, as young Obama’s family forms, fractures, re-forms in Indonesia, only to dissolve again. Who am I? and Where do I belong? become the touchstone questions as the text confronts his ethnic identity—“Barack’s mother was Caucasian. His father was African. So what did that make Barack?”—and draws the conclusion that “no matter where he was, the world was his home.” Both text and illustrations take advantage of loaded images: One double-page spread places a grown Obama, head bowed, before the Washington Mall’s Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial (impossibly foreshortened, so its top is level with Obama’s head) in the background; one passage describes a rally in historically freighted Birmingham. There’s no effort at nonpartisanship, making Obama something of a Messiah figure come to save America at its darkest moment—but it sure is heartfelt. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-170392-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2008




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