Former official White House photographer Souza (Obama: An Intimate Portrait, 2017) pares his extensive collection documenting former President Barack Obama’s two terms in office.
However, instead of offering a coffee-table book for kids, Souza organizes the pictures under life-lesson–themed chapters, such as “Be Kind and Respectful,” “Work Hard,” and “Show Compassion.” And the pictures visually capture Obama living by these words, from intimate moments with his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Malia and Sasha, to the tapestry of humanity he encountered in his travels in the U.S. and around the globe, such as meeting a girl in Malaysia, sitting in the bus seat from which Rosa Parks kickstarted the civil rights movement, and shaking Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s hand before her swearing-in ceremony. Souza states, “Along the way, I became his friend. And he became my friend.” Readers see the lensed empathy borne of that friendship, even as Souza captures the deeply historic moment his friend embodies. The book reminds readers of the deeper import of Obama’s presidency, as evidenced by the now-famous photo of the young black boy touching Obama’s hair to discover it is “just like his.”
Souza has given a hopeful gift for the generations: a keeper. (Nonfiction. 5-12)