9. Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country

Book Reviews / Friday, March 16th, 2012

They say the truth comes from the mouths of babes and that’s exactly what this book is about.  This book arrived on shelves in 2009 shortly after President Obama took office.  I didn’t read it right away when it was given to me.  I decided to wait a while and here we are almost up to the next elections.  The initiative of this book came from the 826 National specifically 826 Valencia in San Francisco’s Mission District, run by Jory John.  The 826 Nationals are non-profit tutoring and writing centers.  There are also chapters in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Seattle. Children go to these centers after school between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m .and get help with their homework and writing.  The children can create stories, plays, poems, comic strips, etc. there.  In 826 Valencia the children were asked to write letters to President Obama as an exercise.  Children aged six to eighteen were asked to write on the question “What should President Obama do now?”.  Wow!  That seems like a loaded question.  As a matter of fact, most adults would have asked if it was a rhetorical question.  Their letters are filled with the same occupations as adults – the war, financial crisis,  gas prices, health care, saving animals, education, crime, unemployment, global warming, immigration, etc.  There are also suggestions on how President Obama should “relax, help people, and even eat donuts”. When Jory John started to read the letters he contacted the other centers to do the same and from all the interesting, creative letters came the project to compile them into Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country.  Heartfelt, hilarious, hopeful, ……..I really enjoyed reading this book.  It’s really a little gem! 🙂 I rate it 4 stars out of 5. Big thumbs up!

“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?” (p. 44)


Edgar Laczano, age 11

San Francisco


“Dear President Obama,

I believe you will do marvelous things for our country.  As a thirteen year old, I’m confident that I could make a list of ten things I would do if I were the president.  But I’m not.  So here’s a list of things you should do as President of the United States.

1. Health care for everyone!!!

2. Eat a donut (or two).

3. Play with your family.

4. Buy donuts for your family.

5.Read the book Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.

6. Pass a law to allow gay marriages in  all states.

7. Ban the right to bear arms.

8. The right of freedom of speech should be modified.

9. Limit the sale and consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

10. Modify the budget for schools in North America.

I have the determination to pursue the dream to be the president.” (p. 19)


Heaven Willis,  age 13



“Dear President Obama,

You are like a big me, because I am from Chicago and I am biracial and have curly hair.  I live in Seattle now, but I’m still from Chicago.

How do you feel about being president?

I have an idea.  Why don’t you give everybody, even the homeless, ten dollars every day?  Each person would need this money for food, clothes, toys, and many other needs.  And don’t forget to give the kids money, too.

My advice for you and your family is to be yourself and you will change the world.  If I were president, I would try to make the world a better place.” (p. 39)


Avante Price, age 7



Check out any of these 826 Nationals by plugging in the city after 826 followed by dot org.  These people are really doing some fantastic work with these children!


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