The Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2009
Dear Mr. Obama
Letters from children offer advice to the president.
By Bruce Kluger and David Tabatsky
card, pundits everywhere are in overdrive. We think they
could do worse than to judge the president against the
expectations of his youngest constituents. Back in
November, we began collecting letters to Obama from kids
across the nation, to compile as a book. 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.
This week, the letters, in book form, finally made it to the White House. Will the
clarity of kidspeak cut through the perpetual din of presidential advice? We hope
so. As 5-year-old Rukiya Holland-Thomas from Montclair, N.J., demonstrates in her
letter, great leadership could be so beautifully simple.
"Dear President Obama," Rukiya wrote. "Help us be nice. Get everyone in the
circle, and then you can tell them to listen to you."
Bruce Kluger and David Tabatsky compiled the just-published "Dear President
Obama: Letters of Hope from Children Across America." (www.obamakids.us)
[Click on the images below to see the letters close-up.]
|Isaac Pagano-Toub, 8, New York
|Amanti Debelo , 5, Nebraska
|Jack Adams, 4, Ohio
|Evan A. L. Neiden, 9, New York
|Kara Hirschman, 12, Maryland
|Theodore Colbert IV, 8, New Jersey
|Juliet Bruce, 6, New York