Ironically, I’m writing this review on the day after the 2012 election, in which Barack Obama was reelected to the highest office in the United States of America. It’s ironic because the book is about Obama’s first election to office. While there have been many books on the subject, this one is aimed at children. It’s fairly comprehensive, starting with the first time Obama captured national attention at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and covering Obama’s decision to run, the 2008 Democratic primaries, and the national race. It also includes a short, non-illustrated biography of President Obama following the story.
The book gets major credit for avoiding partisan leanings. While it does portray Obama winning the election as a good thing, it doesn’t vilify Republicans, nor does it pretend that Democrats are perfect.
The book includes a table of contents, a glossary, and an index. This is commendable, as these present the book as educational, rather than focused on entertainment, which lends it credibility in schools. It’s also a tiny bit laughable because the book is only 32 pages long.
The book’s art is interesting. The colors are faded rather than vivid, giving the whole book the feel of a history textbook. Normally for a graphic novel, that’s awful. But given that this book is clearly intended to be an informative text, it really works.
Honestly, this is a great book. It manages to speak to the age group at which it’s aimed without being condescending. It’s comprehensive, but not overly complex. It tells children about the election in ways that they will understand and helps make the vast and scary world of adult politics a little more accessible. I highly recommend it to any elementary school social studies class.
Obama: The Historic Election of America’s 44th president
by Agnieszka Jòzefina Biskup
Art by Seitu Hayden
Capstone Press, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: 8 and up