Happy President’s Day! In honor of the occasion, our book today is Our Enduring Spirit: President Barack Obama’s First Words To America, excerpted from the 2009 Inauguration Day speech by former President Barack Obama and illustrated by Greg Ruth.
Beginning with the timeless presidential opening of “My fellow Americans,” the words of Obama’s first address to the people of the United States as their president speak of hope, promise, and unity. The newly-elected president acknowledges the complicated past of America while celebrating our patchwork country of religions, races, cultures, genders, etc. He encourages us to embrace our differences, and our similarities, and find the enduring spirit within us to work together as one people with one goal: the preservation of our nation and its promise.
As I noted, this book is comprised of excerpts from Obama’s speech, and fitted together with Ruth’s gorgeous paintings of both his Inauguration Day and various slices of Americana, it makes for an inspirational and moving children’s book. The notion of acknowledging the United States’ past, and not only the triumphs but the moments of great division as well, gives the work an honesty that other kids books about national pride can lack. Yet still, it is, at its core, about what our country can achieve when we eschew our petty differences and recognize that we are all equal, and that’s a fantastic message for little ones. The book is a bit long for babies, but JJ made it through without complaint, and absolutely adored the art. This one is definitely Baby Bookworm approved, and great for celebrating a patriotic holiday like today.