Thursday, February 26, 2009

Children as Writers

Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President ObamaWhen I found this book at our wonderful Columbus Metropolitan Library, I felt like I found a little treasure. The cover of the book caught my attention right away: on the cover there is a picture of a smiling man and in bright big yellow letters it reads, Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country, Kids Letters to President Obama. I have to take this book home with me. And I did. I sat on this cloudy rainy afternoon on my couch and started reading the many letters that children ranging from age 6 to 14 wrote to President Obama. As a reader and as a teacher who loves loves to teach writing, I felt so proud and happy because these children were given a chance for their voices to be heard. Let me give you a little bit of background on this project. It all started at a tutoring center, 826 Valencia, where the editor of this book, Jory John serves as the programs director. The tutoring center runs every day for three hours after school, out of which one of those hours is dedicated to writing. Editor Jory John explained in the introduction that a week after the election, he had the idea of putting the kids' thoughts to President Obama down on paper, bind them and send it to the White House. And the result of such a great idea is this book. 
These children had a purpose and audience in mind when each of them wrote a letter. They had something important to say and they wrote from their heart. The sum of all these ingredients will make your heart melts. I don't have enough words to describe how incredible it is when we give our children a chance to have a voice in our society. These children knew about the terrible economic crisis, about the war, about pollution and taxes. These children are citizen of our dear Nation and my dear friends, they have something important to say. 

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