Friday, January 23, 2009

"Dear President Obama, my favorite food is soup..."



McSweeney's has just released a book called Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letter to President Obama, and it is full of equally heartwarming and hilarious sentiments from children all across the country.

Some kids are inquisitive; some congratulatory and supportive. Others, like this one, offer advice:

Dear Obama family,

When you move into the White House, turn on the heater so it won't be cold. You could also take hot baths in your new antique bathtubs. Or you could make hot tea and coffee.

When I moved to a new house, I helped my dad. He took apart a chair and I carried pieces of it. If I were your helper when you move in, I could move everything!

Have a nice day being the first family.

Nazrawit Dessie, age 7
Seattle

In Marco's portrait below, what some might mistake for a misspelling I interpret as a deliberate substitution of a homophone to make a clever point... 


The innocent and candid curiosity of some of the letters is eye-opening:

Dear President Obama,

I would like to know if you could fix the economy and the war problem. How would you avoid shoes being thrown at you? And why did you choose the Democratic Party? Also, why do you think no other African Americans ran for president?

From,
Edgar Laczano, age 11
San Francisco

Kevin here just has a few things he wants to share with Barack:

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
San Francisco



This one is a bit long, but I think you'll agree it's worth sharing:

Dear Mr. Obama,

Hey, I'm Sheenie, I'm kina a poet.  I really hope you put America back together.  No pressure though.  I bet you get a lot of admiring letters from your millions of fans, but I hope my letter is special enough for your eyes to travel to the end.  I'm not much of a political follower, but I know people like me suddenly got interest.  I heard you on the radio, I saw you on TV, your face was cool and confident, but what stopped me was the eloquence in your voice.  The voice that was made for a thousand speeches.
One day my mom went to the library to find one of your books.  What was annoying and miraculous at the same time was the the book had sooooo many holds.  I think we waited two months for it.
I'm thinking maybe you're the kind of person who doesn't like to be treated like a king.  Maybe you want to be an ordinary person again and you can walk out in the street without someone screaming with delight at the sight of you.
I also want to talk to you about the problems in America,the economy, and of course the war. You promised, I think, to fix it, and I believe you're a person who keels a promise.
To your family, they might be excited, yet stressed, for the first days in the White House.  I'd think you'd not be ready to fix those huge problems yet.  Sit down, get a nice, icy glass of water or whatever you find refreshing, forget your powerful duty, and be an ordinary man that just got off a long plane ride.  Malia and Sasha, help your dad, give him strength, determination, and will.
I might be able to write to you all day long and the funny thing is, I don't even know you.  You really are just the confident figure on my TV screen, ready to take on a nerve-wracking job. I might see you in the rarest of chances, but then again you would just be a smiling, waving figure, maybe shrouded with your bodyguards.
I have hope in you, Mr. Obama, and I hope this letter gave you a little piece of happy-reading joy.
Sheenie Shannon Yip, age 13
Seattle

I don't want to ruin any more (though there are so many more I want to share with you!), because you should all go out and purchase your own copies. If you need a further incentive, all proceeds benefit 826 National, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers around the country.

[Buy the book directly from McSweeney's.]

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