NYT: Extracts – EVER since Barack Obama’s inauguration, the staff members and tutors at our nonprofit writing programs have marveled at how this presidency has percolated through student essays, stories and poems.
And it’s not just the president who has captured their attention — his wife, Michelle, has, too. From our students’ perspective, Mrs. Obama is glamorous but accessible, maternal but cool. They trust her.
So, earlier this fall, 826 National hosted a series of workshops inviting students to write to the first lady. The results were collected in the book “I Live Real Close to Where You Used to Live: Kids’ Letters to Michelle Obama (and to Sasha, Malia and Bo).”
Here is a sampling of what they came up with:
Dear Mrs. Obama,
You’re the greatest person I ever met. I know that you married Obama because he cares about people and also you think he is a special person. How big is your garden? I hope you have great vegetables and fruits so your two children can be strong and grow too. You’re a better dancer than your husband.
I live in Los Angeles. I live in a white and gray apartment. My favorite things are soccer, movies and also princesses. Do you think princesses are for little kids?
— TATIANA MORALES, age 10, Los Angeles
Dear Mrs. Obama,
If I was to get invited to eat dinner with you, I’d have so much fun. What if I was your daughter? I’d love you a whole lot and I would always play with you. Malia and Sasha are beautiful children and are so sweet to other people that they see. I would like to become friends with your two daughters. Can I? You should take Sasha and Malia to the Brooklyn Park out on Sixth Street. It has a swing that pushes by itself and if you say high it will go high, if you say low it will go low.
The Brooklyn Park closes at midnight and I stay until 10. It’s fun. I have too much fun. When I run I burn off energy. I know that you want kids to exercise every day for an hour, but I exercise two hours and 30 minutes every day.
826: I Live Real Close to Where You Used to Live: Kids’ Letters to Michelle Obama (and to Sasha, Malia, & Bo) is a collection of letters written by kids across America to Michelle Obama and her daughters Malia and Sasha (plus a few to their dog Bo). The book is bursting with advice, observations, and questions for the First Lady and her family.
No topic is off-limits; the letters deal with issues ranging from immigration and war to Easy-Bake Ovens and dog food. While some of the messages are heartfelt – “Please help to stop bullying so the kids can be safe in school” – and others are hilarious – “You’re a better dancer than your husband” – all of the letters are unabashedly honest.
The letters ask all kinds of questions, ranging from immigration to childhood obesity and even “Who made up the Whales?” It also offers the first lady a couple of ideas: “Try to keep drugs off the streets. Robots may be able to help you.”
Proceeds benefit 826, a network of nine nonprofit organizations that help children with expository and creative writing.
This book is a follow-up to:
A few days after the election of Barack Obama, 826 students around the country were asked to provide advice and guidance to their new President. In this collection, arriving at inauguration time, there’s loads of advice for President Obama, often hilarious, sometimes heartfelt and occasionally downright practical.
Topics include the economy, education, war, global warming, race relations in America and immigration. The book also includes letters about snow cones, puppies, microwavable burritos, dinosaur projects, multiplication and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, reportedly haunting a White House bedroom.
Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country includes such advice as:
“If I were president, I would help all nations, even Hawaii.” —Chad Timsing, age 9, Los Angeles
“I really hope you put America back together. No pressure though.” —Sheenie Shannon Yip, age 13, Seattle
And, while it wasn’t advice, exactly, we thought this was worth sharing:
“You are just like a big me.” —Avante Price, age 7, Seattle