EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 16, 2009

Obama-mania offers armloads of books for kids

Books to inspire and inform young people about President-elect Barack Obama and his historic inauguration include an artist's celebration of the American spirit, the life of the first lady to be and a look at our 44th commander in chief for preschoolers.

Obama-mania has generated junior biographies and fresh presidential encyclopedias by the armload in time for the big swearing-in Tuesday, but parents beware: Splashy Obama covers or promised post-election updates may not pay off, so check inside.

In addition to the pre-inaugural fare, look for a comic book biography of Michelle Obama in April from Bluewater Productions. She's the latest to join the company's "Female Force" series with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Bluewater, based in Bellingham, Wash., plans to add Caroline Kennedy in June.

With a little help from a grown-up, there's "my first presidential board book" from Michaelson Entertainment in Santa Monica, Calif. — "Barack Obama 101" by Brad M. Epstein ($10.95). It includes full-color photos of the smiling first family, Obama grinning at the wheel of a bumper car with daughter Sasha and Obama the boy, college guy and community organizer.

There's even a photo spread on the presidential wheels — Air Force One, the helicopter Marine One and the sleek black limos of many a motorcade to come. Little Obama watchers can trace where he's lived on a world map, slip their own photos into a frame as possible presidential contenders of the future and make a list of their heroes.

Other standouts:

"Yes We Can!" (Scholastic, $4.99, ages 4-8) with numerous photo credits.

This quick and simple picture book companion to the biography of the same name pairs colorful news photos of Obama, his family and young supporters with text from his victory speech. The borderless images and his plea for help are a powerful match for kids.

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