First there was Barack Obama, the bio. Published by Scholastic, the slender tome was written for fourth-graders of all ages and proclaimed that “white voters would never vote for a black president.” The authors’ weak predictive powers did not prevent the book from becoming required reading under the Common Core standards.
Now, another book has emerged, this one depicting Obama as Obama sees himself — as a demigod with the capacity to perform superhuman feats, such as slowing the rise of the oceans: in short, as a messiah.
Even the cover has a distinctly religious feel to it. It is emblazoned with a beatific blue-tinted halftone rendering of the nation’s savior, over which a four-color painting of the child Obama is superimposed. Biblical rays of light steal outward from the image.
That spiritual sensibility continues between the covers. In his own report at EAGNews.org, Kyle Olson included a video containing an oral recitation of the text, titled, “Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope.” But if you click on it now, you receive a message that the video has been removed by the user. It makes you wonder what the creators feel they have to hide, but luckily YouTube videos are hard to suppress. For every one that is removed, two new videos spring up.
Below is another video capture with excerpts from the book. A transcript of the first passage follows.
… joyed in the jungle at the edge of his new home, a perfect paradise until beggars broke his heart. Barry started to wonder, ‘Will I ever be able to help people like these?’ Hope hummed deep inside of him. Some day, son, some day.
Except for the smarmy, ham-handed prose (by noted black children’s book author Nikki Grimes), the anecdote is reminiscent of the story of Martin of Tours, who according to legend, cut his cloak in two so that he could clothe a beggar he encountered in the dead of winter. The beggar turned out to be Christ and Martin was later beatified.
Another passage reads:
Before dawn each morning, Barry rose – his mother’s voice driving him from dream land. ‘Time for learning English grammar and the Golden Rule. Be honest, be kind, be fair,’ she taught him.
The Common Core lesson plan accompanying this sappy drivel is by someone name Sherece Bennett and is on sale at TeachersPayTeachers.com.
Kyle Olson writes:
Grimes’ book and Bennett’s lesson plan are more fitting for an authoritarian regime in which children are taught to deify and praise their dear leader. One can almost envision teachers in Cuba, Venezuela and Iran using similar books and lessons.
Thankfully, that’s not the American way, which makes these learning materials completely unsuitable for our classrooms.
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