Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference

By: Marlene Targ Brill

Series: Gateway Biographies

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This children's biography of Barack Obama begins by exploring the lives of his father and mother, as well as his grandparents, who were so influential in his upbringing. It then follows all the major events in his life from birth to his run for the Senate in 2004 and history-making speech at the Democratic National Convention that same year. Brief sidebar facts, as well as both full-color and black-and-white photos, are scattered throughout the text. At the end readers will find an events time-line, glossary, and Barack Obama's Senate website address (the other web address given is out-of-date). The book is also fully indexed.


I thought that Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference was a very well-written biography of the man who will be our next president. Having read Barack Obama's books, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope, I can say that the information contained in this biography for kids seems accurate and complete, except for the mis-spelling of his oldest daughter's name, which is listed a "Maile" in two different places in the book and should read, "Malia". The book also doesn't mention that President-elect Obama's youngest daughter, Natasha, usually goes by the nickname, "Sasha", but that is a relatively minor thing. The book covers the time from Barack Obama's birth to his Senate win and hits all the most important points, though there is nothing of his time in the Senate or his campaign for the presidency. Overall though, in my opinion, this is a great book for young readers to learn more about the man who is soon to be president, and even though I didn't learn anything new, adults who are unfamiliar with his life story to date may find it useful as a quick primer. Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference is part of the Gateway Biographies series, an extensive series of biographies of famous people written just for young readers.


Marlene Targ Brill