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Obama books for kids abound

Authors celebrate spirit, history surrounding president-elect

Books to inspire and inform young people about President-elect Barack Obama and his historic inauguration include an artist’s celebration of the American spirit, the life of the first lady to be and a look at our 44th commander-in-chief for pre-schoolers.

With a little help from a grown-up, there’s “my first presidential board book” from Michaelson Entertainment in Santa Monica, Calif. – “Barack Obama 101” by Brad M. Epstein ($10.95).

It includes full-color photos of the first family, Obama grinning at the wheel of a bumper car with daughter Sasha, and Obama the boy, college guy and community organizer.

There’s even a photo spread on the presidential wheels: Air Force One, the helicopter Marine One and the sleek black limos of many a motorcade to come.

Little Obama watchers can trace where he’s lived on a world map, slip their own photos into a frame as possible presidential contenders of the future and make a list of their heroes.

Other standouts:

•“Yes We Can!” (Scholastic, $4.99, ages 4-8): This quick and simple picture book companion to the biography of the same name pairs colorful news photos of Obama, his family and young supporters with text from his victory speech.

•“Don’t Know Much About the Presidents” (HarperCollins, $6.99, ages 6-9) by Kenneth C. Davis: In Q-and-A format, this update appeals with kid-friendly facts: While Obama is about 6-feet-3, another famous lanky lawyer from Illinois (Abraham Lincoln) remains the tallest president at 6-4.

•“Change Has Come” (Simon & Schuster, $12.99, ages 9-12) illustrated by Kadir Nelson: Nelson captures Obama’s words of strength, hope and change in black-and-white drawings in this small celebration of the American spirit.

•“Barack Obama, Our 44th President” (Simon & Schuster, $5.99, ages 9-12), by Beatrice Gormley: Among the better biographies for young people, recently updated with Obama’s victory. Gormley describes the “Guess Who Coming to Dinner” moment when Barack’s white American mother brought home his black Kenyan father to meet her parents for the first time.

•“Barack Obama, People We Should Know” (Gareth Stevens Publishing, ages 9-12) by Geoffrey M. Horn: This slim paperback volume from Weekly Reader offers the victorious highs, but also details the tough stuff from Obama’s childhood and young adult years: his mother’s marital and financial struggles, his early election defeats and the bad impression he left on future wife Michelle when he was late for their first date.

•“Michelle Obama, Meet the First Lady” (HarperCollins, $16.99, ages 8-12) by David Bergen Brophy: Drawing strength from the struggles of her disabled father and hard-working mother on Chicago’s South Side, Michelle Obama’s life away from home as a young girl at predominantly white Princeton is described with a steady hand, as is her first look at her husband-to-be in “bad sport jacket and a cigarette dangling from his mouth.”

•“Michelle Obama, An American Story” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $6.99, ages 8-12) by David Colbert: Feels a bit like an instant, but includes 16 pages of color photos and fun facts for kids: She was the first lawyer to Barney the dinosaur.