Obama + Books = Good Reading

The anticipation surrounding the Obama inauguration, already at fever pitch, was bumped up a notch with the Obama family's arrival in Washington this past weekend, sweeping into the elegant Hay Adams hotel in those ubiquitious black SUVs for a two week stint, before they decamp for government quarters. For those not able to stake out near 16th & I Sts. NW to catch a glimpse of the future First Family coming and going from the hotel (and the Secret Service cordons would make that prohibitive anyway) there are other ways to get a dose of Obamania before the Big Day. Books. And there are plenty of them, as numerous publishers have been rolling out those serious, funny and commemorative takes on the Obama candidacy over the past year, with more surely to follow once Barack Obama becomes Mr. President. None will sell as well as Obama's own memoirs, but here's a sampling of what's on offer:

Yes We Can: Barack Obama's History-Making Presidential Campaign
Photographs by Scout Tufankjian (powerHouse, $29.95)
This book, released mid-December, is already in a second printing. Tufankjian, a well-known photojournalist, was wowed by Obama as much as anyone -- she was asked to cover a New Hampshire event Obama was holding, though she wasn't keen on going and had to break plans to do so. After the hoopla, she called her agent and flat out stated she was planning on covering the Obama campaign. And he wasn't even an announced candidate at the time. That's passion.

The American Journey of Barack Obama
By the editors of LIFE magazine (Little, Brown, $24.99)
It does a solid job doing what LIFE magazine has reliably done for decades -- tell a story in a colorful, sometimes captivating, very visual way. All accompanied by lots of text, filling in the details on who Barack is and where he came from, for those that haven't yet read either of those super-selling memoirs of his. This book has already hit numerous bestseller lists, including those of the Post.

Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs
By Deborah Willis and Kevin Merida (Amistad, $26.95)
Veteran Washington Post reporter Kevin Merida provides an insightful essay to this photographic panorama of the Obama campaign, from the declaration of candidacy in Springfield, Ill. to the elation of receiving the nomination as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate --- and the first African American ever to hold such a position.

President Obama: Election 2008
(Andrews McMeel, $14.99)
The Poynter Insititute complied this full-color spread of 70 newspaper front pages announcing Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election, from college rags to national and international newspapers. Many of those Nov. 5 editions would make history themselves, selling out in droves as people flocked to snag a little something for posterity. For at least the first week after Election Day, people were lined up in front of The Post's downtown headquarters to purchase back issues of the paper and then the special commemorative edition that was printed up to respond to the demand. Original editions from many news organizations can be found for astounding sums on eBay and the like. This tribute seems much tidier and less expensive. And it comes with an introduction by Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau.

For those wonkier souls, there are a few more substantive books to be had: The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield (Nelson, $19.99) ... you knew it was only a matter of time before that one would appear. An American Story: The Speeches of Barack Obama by David Olive (ECW, $14.95) ... for those that couldn't make any of the campaign stops or missed the newspaper's reprinting. Obamanomics: How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics by John R. Talbott (Seven Stories, $16.95) ... the wheezing economy will surely be one of Obama's greatest challenges. Here, the noted economist gives his precis of what he thinks will happen under a new administration. Barack Obama for Beginners: An Essential Guide by Bob Neer; illus. by Joe Lee (Steerforth, $7.95) ... a comic book rendition of Obama 101, it came out over the summer, but still might prove useful for those who still don't know all they should. Perfect weight (physical and otherwise) for a Metro ride.

And for the kids: Yes We Can: A Biography of President Barack Obama by Garen Thomas (Feiwel, $6.99), Barack Obama: An American Story by Bob Carlton & Ariele Gentiles (Zondervan, $9.99), Michelle Obama: An American Story by David Colbert (Sandpiper, $6.99), Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady by David Bergen Brophy (Collins, $6.99) and Barack Obama: Our 44th President by Beatrice Gormley (Aladdin, $5.99). All in the tradition of the wonderful Scholastic biography series of famous people, written for grade schoolers. For young tots, there are two splendid picture books available: Barack by Jonah Winter, illustrated by AG Ford (Collins, $17.99) [from childhood to the nomination] and Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Simon & Schuster, $16.99) [that same story told by a collaboration of the noted poet and exceptional children's book artist].

Look for Book World's Inauguration Issue on January 18.

By Christopher Schoppa |  January 6, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
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Good Morning - Thanks for the list of books about our President Elect. Will there also be a discussion here on the mock Coretta Scott King awards for 2009? Perhaps Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier will be awarded a CKS award?

Unlike the Newbery and Caldecott awards - there seems to be little to no discussion of mock Coretta Scott King awards in the mainstream press. Will the Washington Post change this?

Please add your CSK mock suggestions to www.BlackThreadsinKidsLit.blogspot.com

Best, Kyra Hicks
author, Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria

Posted by: khicks | January 6, 2009 7:32 AM

And speaking of CSK winners,they forgot to mention Change Has Come by my favorite artist Kadir Nelson. I just picked up a copy yesterday and it's amazing. And so is the book trailer...


Posted by: Nikki55 | January 7, 2009 12:23 PM

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