Obama, talk carefully: children offer sagely advice

April 26th, 2009 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New York, April 26 (IANS) As President Barack Obama completes 100 days in office next week, the White House has received a book full of letters and drawings from children who have offered praise (”You should be on all dimes in the world”), advice (”Talk carefully”) and suggestions (”Help us be nice”).
As many as 179 students, aged four to 18 years, took up their pencils and sketch pens, and author-journalists Bruce Kluger and David Tabatsky put it together in the form of a book, “Dear President Obama: Letters of Hope from Children Across America” (Beckham Publications).

The children represent a wide spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds - from a seventh grader in a Manhattan private school to a classroom of children in one of the poorest communities in Lincoln, Nebraska - and include at least one Indian American, Aneesh Dalal.

“Back in November, we began collecting letters to Obama from kids across the nation to compile as a book,” the duo wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

“We e-mailed a handful of friends in search of letters from their children. Those friends forwarded the e-mail to their friends, and within four weeks, we were sitting on more than 1,000 letters and drawings from children, ages 4 to 18, from 29 states and every region of the country. Talk about your embarrassment of riches.”

Last week, the letters, in book form, finally made it to the White House, they wrote.

“Will the clarity of kidspeak cut through the perpetual din of presidential advice? We hope so. As five-year-old Rukiya Holland-Thomas from Montclair, N.J., demonstrates in her letter, great leadership could be so beautifully simple.”

“Dear President Obama,” Rukiya writes. “Help us be nice. Get everyone in the circle, and then you can tell them to listen to you.”

“I want my children’s children to see polar bears!” writes 10-year-old New Yorker Paola Wernick about the environment.

“Please do not forget Darfur,” pleads Tasha Slavin, 11, from Missouri.

“Talk carefully on the radio,” warns San Franciscan Ashley Wu, 7, “and don’t talk too fast because you’re going to mess up if you do”.

Casey Mack, 14, of Connecticut: “I was happy to see that someone who looks like me can be president of the United States of America. The kids at school have been saying some mean things about people who look like us. But now I believe we can change their negative points of view.”

“As the nation faces the daunting challenges that lie ahead, ‘Dear President Obama: Letters of Hope From Children Across America’ is an uplifting reminder of the unwavering optimism of our national spirit, and a testament to the great promise to be found in our future generations,” a release from the authors said.

The new book is reminiscent of “Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters to President Obama” (McSweeney’s and 826 National), which came out days before Obama took oath Jan 19.

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