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Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President Obama

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Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President Obama Cover

ISBN13: 9781934781579
ISBN10: 1934781576
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Every day after school, about 65 kids, mostly from Latino homes, come into 826 Valencia — a nonprofit literacy center in San Francisco — to get help with their homework. The place is always vibrant, but on November 5, 2008, the 20 tutors in the room essentially played zone defense to keep things in order. The election of Barack Obama had overturned the students' world.

The kids, mostly middle-schoolers, had been interested in the election all year, but few of them, truth be told, really thought Obama would be elected. They'd only known one president all their lives, and he didn't look like them. But when Obama won, it was like Christmas had been declared a permanent state of being. The students ran around, yelling about where they were when they heard the election results. Some kids brought in celebratory cookies. Two eighth-graders changed our computers' desktop backgrounds to Shepard Fairey's ubiquitous Obama portrait. Kids drew pictures of Obama on their school folders and posted his image all over our center.

In the midst of all this, we had an idea: to ask our students to express their thoughts to Barack Obama in personalized letters. This could be both an engaging writing assignment and a way to start students thinking about the new president's impending challenges and goals. The notion that they would potentially be heard by the president compelled the students to take the task seriously.

Our sister 826 National chapters — located in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Boston, and Seattle — all jumped in and asked their students to write letters, too, assembling the collected thoughts of hundreds of kids across the country. The resulting letters contained hilarious advice, unusual questions, or heartfelt pleas for a better life. Almost all of them identified with Sasha and Malia. One student, Ribika Hailemariam, born in Ethopia, even offered advice on moving to a new town.

These kids have a way of getting to the heart of matters quickly, honestly, and bluntly. Sheenie Shannon Yip, a 13-year-old from Seattle, wrote to the new president, "I really hope you put America back together. No pressure, though."

Review:

"With John as editor, Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: A Collection of Kids' Letters to President Obama has become a much-talked about project that, at its core, is really a child's perspective on the notions of hope, ideals and challenges facing the 44th president of the United States."Tahoe Daily Tribune

Review:

"A hilarious and touching collection of letters compiled at 826 Valencia in San Francisco and the writing center's half dozen chapters across the country." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"[Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country]... offers a moving snapshot of children's lives in the waning days of 2008." USA Today

Review:

"Preternaturally sagacious youngsters from 826 National's various tutoring centers across the country chimed in to the national dialogue with their advice, concerns and hopes for their new president." LA Times

Synopsis:

After the election of President Obama, hundreds of six- to fourteen-year-olds in cities across the country were asked: "What should President Obama do now?" Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country is a collection of more than 70 letters addressed to our new president, containing their young authors' thoughts, hope, and advice, including:

  • "I really hope you put America back together. No pressure though." — Sheenie Shannon Yip, 13, Seattle

  • "1. Fly to the White House in a helicopter. 2. Walk in. 3. Wipe feet. 4. Walk to the Oval Office. 5. Sit down in a chair. 6. Put hand sanitizer on hands. 7. Enjoy moment. 8. Get up. 9. Get in car. 10. Go to the dog pound." — Chandler Browne, 12, Chicago

Synopsis:

Dear Barack Obama,

Something happened to me: I went out to lunch at Starbucks and I wanted to buy a cup of whipped cream and normally its 43 cents, but now its 74 cents! The price raised 31 cents for no reason. So you should probably try to change things like that from happening. You should keep an eye out for things like that.

Love,

Alexis Feliciano, age 9, Brooklyn

 

Dear President Obama,

What is your favorite holiday? My favorite holidays are Christmas and Halloween. I would be a good president and stop bad drugs. What stuff is in the White House? Answer here: _________________________________

 

You would never say bad words because you would never break the law.

Sincerely,

Kevin Cordova, age 7, Los Angeles

 

Dear President Obama,

I know you want to save the Earth, but people dont want to clean. My life is to clean up all the world and help you to clean. I always dream of cleaning the world for you. Ill do anything for you because you are the president in this world.

Stephanie Gonzalez, age 7, Los Angeles

 

Dear President Barack Obama,

When I was watching television on November 4th, I started crying because I was so happy. Everyone in my neighborhood kept honking their cars, yelling, and texting their friends about how you had been elected the 44th president.

My friend's dad is going to open a new ice-cream store right in front of my house and they are going to try to open it on January 20th in honor of you. :) My family and I have been talking about when you become president that it is going to be very hard. Don't worry, you have me, my family, my friends, and St. James School to support you. Just remember that you have two wonderful daughters that love you and a wife that loves you too and remember that she is as beautiful as a rose.

Well, thanks, and I hope you have a great time running the country. :) Sincerely, Yoselin Teresa Martinez Xonthe, San Francisco

 

Dear President Obama,

If I were president, I would tell people to not talk too much. It wastes time. If I were the president, you wouldnt have to pay rent. When you go to the store, you wouldnt have to pay for sure! Id also say to war: no more, no more, no more!

Catherine Galvan, age 6, Chicago

Synopsis:

A few days after the election of Barack Obama, kids around the country were asked to provide advice and guidance to their new president. In this collection, there's loads advice for the president, often hilarious, sometimes heartfelt, and occasionally downright practical. Students from all over the country reach out to the 44th president, speaking to the issues closest to their hearts, relating their life stories, and asking for help. Topics include the economy, education, war, global warming, race relations in America and immigration. The book also includes letters about snow cones, puppies, microwavable burritos, dinosaur projects, multiplication and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, reportedly haunting a White House bedroom.

Proceeds benefit 826 National, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers around the country.

Video

About the Author

Jory John is the programs director at 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center. He is also the co-author of Pirate's Log, a children's book published by Chronicle Books. Jory has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer and for the internationally syndicated comic strip "Dennis the Menace."

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

amabre, June 18, 2009 (view all comments by amabre)
Children's letters to President Obama! They are really sweet, some of them are heartbreaking. It amazes me how much kids know about politics these days. When I was 10 I knew nothing. A lot of the letters address homelessness and advise Obama to help the poor. Some letters scold him for smoking. Some talk about all the fun they would have if they lived in the white house. One kid wants to fill some of the rooms with mashed potatoes and have a pizza carpet and a chocolate pudding couch.

This one might be my favorite:

Dear President Obama,
My name is Kevin. I have one brother and one sister and their names are Anthony and Dayanara. My favorite food is soup and my favorite breakfast is cereal. My favorite fruit is a pear and my favorite thing at the store is hot Cheetos.
Sincerely,
Kevin Romero, age 7

This sounds like kid stuff but some of the letters are surprising. They touch on the economy, on green alternatives to gasoline, on health insurance, on animal welfare, on immigration, on race.

Here's a bit of one letter that I thought was interesting:

"My dream is to become a veterinarian or a zoologist because I love animals and I think I will get more connected to our planet. I have dreams that I want to achieve that are why my parents, my brother and I immigrated to the United States. My neighbor thinks that I'm just another Latino that is going to ruin her life. But they are so wrong. I want to go to great high schools. I want to graduate from college and show my mom that I worked my butt off."
-Yoselin Teresa Martinez Xonthe, age 13
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Lisa Smith, February 11, 2009 (view all comments by Lisa Smith)
If the children are happy about Obama's election, writing letters to him won't change that. As I haven't read the book, I don't know all the advice, skepticism, and recognition of difficulties it contains.

I do know one kindergartner who says, "It must be hard to be president. You have to get dressed up all the time."
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
lanani808, February 11, 2009 (view all comments by lanani808)
I'm a minority, and I didn't vote for him. It sounds like the creators of this book are contributing to the rampant liberal indoctrination spreading across our country. Sad that at such a young age these kids are not given opportunities to see the other side of the coin. So what if he "looks like them"? Let's see what he actually does before we start hailing him as the solution to all our problems. As far as I know, HOPE doesn't pay the bills.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 29 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781934781579
Subtitle:
Kids' Letters to President Obama
Author:
John, Jory
Publisher:
McSweeney's
Subject:
Topic - Political
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Children
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
Humor-Politics and Business
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20090301
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
Children/juvenile
Language:
English
Illustrations:
25 BandW illustrations
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
7 x 5.5 in 6 oz
Age Level:
from 6

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Political
Children's » Biographies » General
Children's » History » United States » 1900 to Present
Children's » Nonfiction » Current Affairs
Children's » Nonfiction » US History
Young Adult » Fiction » Anthologies

Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President Obama New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.00 In Stock
Product details 144 pages McSweeney's Books - English 9781934781579 Reviews:
"Review" by , "With John as editor, Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: A Collection of Kids' Letters to President Obama has become a much-talked about project that, at its core, is really a child's perspective on the notions of hope, ideals and challenges facing the 44th president of the United States."
"Review" by , "A hilarious and touching collection of letters compiled at 826 Valencia in San Francisco and the writing center's half dozen chapters across the country."
"Review" by , "[Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country]... offers a moving snapshot of children's lives in the waning days of 2008."
"Review" by , "Preternaturally sagacious youngsters from 826 National's various tutoring centers across the country chimed in to the national dialogue with their advice, concerns and hopes for their new president."
"Synopsis" by , After the election of President Obama, hundreds of six- to fourteen-year-olds in cities across the country were asked: "What should President Obama do now?" Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country is a collection of more than 70 letters addressed to our new president, containing their young authors' thoughts, hope, and advice, including:

  • "I really hope you put America back together. No pressure though." — Sheenie Shannon Yip, 13, Seattle

  • "1. Fly to the White House in a helicopter. 2. Walk in. 3. Wipe feet. 4. Walk to the Oval Office. 5. Sit down in a chair. 6. Put hand sanitizer on hands. 7. Enjoy moment. 8. Get up. 9. Get in car. 10. Go to the dog pound." — Chandler Browne, 12, Chicago

"Synopsis" by ,

Dear Barack Obama,

Something happened to me: I went out to lunch at Starbucks and I wanted to buy a cup of whipped cream and normally its 43 cents, but now its 74 cents! The price raised 31 cents for no reason. So you should probably try to change things like that from happening. You should keep an eye out for things like that.

Love,

Alexis Feliciano, age 9, Brooklyn

 

Dear President Obama,

What is your favorite holiday? My favorite holidays are Christmas and Halloween. I would be a good president and stop bad drugs. What stuff is in the White House? Answer here: _________________________________

 

You would never say bad words because you would never break the law.

Sincerely,

Kevin Cordova, age 7, Los Angeles

 

Dear President Obama,

I know you want to save the Earth, but people dont want to clean. My life is to clean up all the world and help you to clean. I always dream of cleaning the world for you. Ill do anything for you because you are the president in this world.

Stephanie Gonzalez, age 7, Los Angeles

 

Dear President Barack Obama,

When I was watching television on November 4th, I started crying because I was so happy. Everyone in my neighborhood kept honking their cars, yelling, and texting their friends about how you had been elected the 44th president.

My friend's dad is going to open a new ice-cream store right in front of my house and they are going to try to open it on January 20th in honor of you. :) My family and I have been talking about when you become president that it is going to be very hard. Don't worry, you have me, my family, my friends, and St. James School to support you. Just remember that you have two wonderful daughters that love you and a wife that loves you too and remember that she is as beautiful as a rose.

Well, thanks, and I hope you have a great time running the country. :) Sincerely, Yoselin Teresa Martinez Xonthe, San Francisco

 

Dear President Obama,

If I were president, I would tell people to not talk too much. It wastes time. If I were the president, you wouldnt have to pay rent. When you go to the store, you wouldnt have to pay for sure! Id also say to war: no more, no more, no more!

Catherine Galvan, age 6, Chicago

"Synopsis" by ,
A few days after the election of Barack Obama, kids around the country were asked to provide advice and guidance to their new president. In this collection, there's loads advice for the president, often hilarious, sometimes heartfelt, and occasionally downright practical. Students from all over the country reach out to the 44th president, speaking to the issues closest to their hearts, relating their life stories, and asking for help. Topics include the economy, education, war, global warming, race relations in America and immigration. The book also includes letters about snow cones, puppies, microwavable burritos, dinosaur projects, multiplication and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, reportedly haunting a White House bedroom.

Proceeds benefit 826 National, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers around the country.

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