The Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2009

    Dear Mr. Obama
    Letters from children offer advice to the president.

    By Bruce Kluger and David Tabatsky

    As President Obama prepares for his 100-day report
    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." (

    [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