Dear Mr. President

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

I'm a little conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I liked the way it showed how a kid might interpret something overheard on the news- Sam knows the president wants to build a wall, and this doesn't seem like such a bad idea to Sam, because he shares a bedroom with his two brothers, and his older brother keeps him awake by playing on his phone (even though he's not supposed to play on his phone in bed), and takes Sam's stuff without asking. Sam wants to build a wall across their bedroom, but no one else thinks this is a good idea. Over the course of the story, which is told through letters written to the president, Sam's brother starts to be nicer, keeping his phone under the covers so the light doesn't keep Sam awake, and asking before using Sam's things, and when he comes to Sam's aid after Sam has a nightmare, Sam decides it's not so bad having an older brother in the same room, and gives up his wall idea. The president is shown reading the letters at the end of the book, but we never find out what he thought about them. The illustrations are sweet, and have lots of detail to look at, which is always fun. I also liked that the book didn't get political, because I don't think kids would really get that. Which brings me to the other hand- will kids really get the wall thing, in regard to the president and his border wall desires? I suppose it would open a conversation, and the book did briefly discuss other walls that were built for political reasons, like the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall, but this particular wall is so divisive, it needs care when discussing with children. The idea of working things out in the story is good, but I don't know how well that relates to the wall that inspired Sam's idea. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

#DearMrPresident #NetGalley
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This was not quite what I was expecting, but it was cute.  I can’t say I’d recommend it highly, though.
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Sam is sick of sharing a room with his older brother, so he decides he'd like to build a wall to split up the room. He reaches out to the president in a series of letters, to share his idea with a man who is also very fond of building walls. Sam has big dreams for his wall, but will he actually go through with building it? Or will he find a way to coexist with his brother? 

I understand what the author was trying to do with this book, but unfortunately it fell flat. The wall comparison just wasn't strong enough. I was also really distracted by the fact that Sam's signature changes in every letter. Was that just for fun, or was there a deeper meaning to it, that I just didn't pick up on?

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sharing an e-copy with me in exchange for my honest review.*
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Sam has a problem. He shares a room with his big brother, but they don't get along very well. He thinks the problem might be solved by building a wall between their two sides. Sam has heard about the president's idea for a wall, so he begins a correspondence with the president. Sophie Siers and Anne Villenueve record and illustrate his letters in Dear Mr. President.

This a cute idea, taking a political hot topic and giving it a mostly non-political, real-life application. Sam weighs the pros and cons of building the wall, although he never can convince his parents or his brother that it's a good idea. Sam's teacher points out that historically some walls "didn't quite work to plan," and Dad says that "communication and negotiation are always preferable to separation." Eventually, their parents set Sam's brother straight and he begins to be a more considerate roomie.

Sam never does hear back from the president, or at least that correspondence is not recorded in the book. More than making a specific political point, Sam learns that when both sides work together, they can get along, and that coming to agreements and compromise is better than building permanent barriers. It's a good lesson for domestic relations, but doesn't easily translate to international relations. Still, this is a fun little book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
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I wasn't sure what I would think of Dear Mr. President because I typically don't like politically charged issues featured in children's books.  I decided to read it because it discusses a controversial subject relevant in our country, and I was interested in seeing how the topic was portrayed and if I felt the book would be appropriate to read with my own children or not.  A young boy writes letters to the President because he wants to "build a wall" in his room to separate himself from his brother after hearing on the news about the President wanting to build a wall too.  The ideas of different points of view and understanding of differences were discussed.  

Overall, even though this is a picture book, because of the topics mentioned, this is a book that would probably be best for older children who would have a little bit of understanding of our country's political issues.  Definitely not for my 1st grader and preschooler.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are mine.
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I feel like the purpose of this book can be lost on a child if they don't know much about Donald Trump's wall. It needs a little more depth to it.
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This was a cute book about a young boy that wants to build a wall in the middle of his bedroom that he shares with his older brother. He writes letters to the president about the wall he wants to build and asks the president questions about the wall that he wants to build. In the end, the boy learns a lesson and is glad that he did not build a wall in his bedroom. The book is cute, and would be great for lower elementary students!
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Originally published in New Zealand under the title Dear Donald Trump, Sophie Siers explores the current political climate and the President of the United States’ obsession with building a wall in her book Dear Mr. President.  I sort of wish they had kept the title here in Canada as I have a hard time acknowledging Donald Trump as the President however, given that the book is being published simultaneously in Canada and the United States, I understand the decision to change the title.

Sam has to share a bedroom with his older brother and he is intrigued by the President’s idea of building a wall to keep people out.  He thinks a wall across his bedroom would be the perfect solution to his brother’s annoyances.  The story is written in a series of letters written by Sam to the President, very accurately illustrated as Donald Trump, asking about the wall and commending him for his great idea.  As the story progresses Sam begins to question the need for a wall, especially after learning about other historical walls that were built to keep people out that didn’t quite hit the mark.  Sam learns that when you come together with the opposition, sometimes the most effective solutions are not to divide but to talk and create an atmosphere of compromise.

A fabulous lesson in the need to come together instead of divide, to welcome people in instead of trying to keep them out and to discuss our differences instead of discounting people because of those differences.  The illustrations by Anne Villeneuve are so spot on.  They are expressive and fluid filled to the brim with colour
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In today’s’ age, the topic of building a wall is hot on the radar of many adults. It is hard to turn on the television, look at the newspaper, or even hop on social media without running into any mention or reference to the political turmoil that is going. 

As the political sides debate the future of the borders of our country, it is only natural that our children and students begin to pick up on bits and pieces of the conversation. Through the hearing of adults and leaders of our country speak, children have begun to emulate and form their opinions on the topic as well.

Dear Mr. President, by Sophie Siers, is a new picture book that highlights a child’s perspective on the topic of building a wall. The little boy is named Sam, and he feels that building a wall may be an answer to his problem as well. Sam is struggling with having to share his bedroom with his older brother. 

Through a series of letters to the President of the United States, Sam highlights his beliefs in how a wall can separate himself from the problems that are constantly being caused by his brother.

It is through the love and encouragement of the boys' parents that the siblings slowly find ways to talk out their issues and begin to show more respect towards each other. Eventually, the kindness returns between the brothers and they agree to both make the necessary changes to better live together in peace.

I appreciate how the book, Dear Mr. President, took on a heated and charged issue in our country and wrote a story in a manner that kids can understand. 

The book helps kids realize the emotions behind the issue and it gives kids a relatable issue that they all can understand within their lives. I love how both boys grew and changed for the better through the experience.
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I see how this book can spark controversy! With a clear connection to the US/Mexico wall, it shows how a younger brother changes his mind about building a wall in the room he shares with his very annoying older brother. He starts being dead set on needing the wall and finishes rejecting the idea. He feels a bit silly changing his mind, but his family supports him. Love the references to other famous walls and the fact that the boys dad wisely notices that "communication and negotiation are always preferable to separation."
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I found that I liked this book and the characters in it far more than the subject that inspired it. A boy writes a series of letters to the president because he wants to build a wall in his bedroom because he is so annoyed at the big brother he shares it with. The illustrations are charming and the letters are cute. The narrator also learns a fair amount about the history of other walls through the ages, which he passes on. He ultimately decides that he likes sharing the room with his brother, especially after his brother makes some efforts to be a better roommate and he sees the advantages (like having him around when he has a nightmare).

The book will not really shed any light at all on the proposed Mexico border wall issue. While it's written to the president (who is never named and is not on the cover, despite the cover image that Goodreads shows that says "Dear Donald Trump" instead of "Dear Mr. President"), the border wall and the president are not the topic, which keeps the story lighthearted and sweet.

This book reminded me a LOT of "Dear Mr. Blueberry," a picture book where a little girl writes a series of letters to her teacher about a whale she believes lives in her pond. That book is delightful and I hope it's the same author or I'd have a little issue with the similarities (edited to add: I looked it up and it is not).

My rating system:
1 = hated it
2 = it was okay
3 = liked it
4 = really liked it
5 = love it, plan to purchase, and/or would buy it again if it was lost

I read a temporary digital ARC of the book for the purpose of review.
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I’ll admit, I was a bit apprehensive to read Dear Mr. President by Sophie Siers and illustrated by Anne Villeneuve, largely because it featured a child who agreed with the despicable President Trump about building a wall. And honestly, it’s one of those things where I just feel uncomfortable with ignorant people who spout off horrible and, quite frankly, racist ideas. As Trump is one of them and his wall stems from racist beliefs, it’s really no wonder that this was a book I did not go into reading lightly.

And I had a feeling when I requested it that the book would follow a better path than the unfortunate goon we have for a leader. Wonderfully, I was correct. And, in its own way, this book really does handle the matter rather tastefully. It was perhaps a bit too nice to the man in office than I personally believe he deserves, but at the end of the day I do think that’s an important message to send to children.

Dear Mr. President basically follows young Sam, who is in the not so great circumstance of having to share a room with his brother, overhearing that the new President wants to build a wall to separate America from Mexico and, as sharing his room with his older brother shows itself as an annoyance, sees building a wall as a viable solution to the problem with his sibling. Through some really cute illustrations, Sam discusses how he would like to separate their room into two with a wall so that he can have his own space and won’t have to deal with all the frustrating aspects of sharing his room.

Told in the format of multiple letters written to President Trump, it follows Sam’s misunderstanding of situations and his conversations with those around him until he finally learns of better ways to improve circumstances as well as how to build trust and better relationships with those around him. In every way, Dear Mr. President is about a boy learning and growing immensely as a person and then imploring the President himself to do so as well. And really, I can do nothing but commend it for that.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This book writes a current day controversy into a context that can be understood by children.  A little boy wants to build a wall in his room to separate his space from his brother's.  I really enjoyed the format of this book as it takes the form of letters written to the President by the boy.  As the story progresses the boy discusses his thoughts about why he would like to build a wall.
I did enjoy this book from a personal standpoint.  I think it could introduce interesting topics and learning dialogue to children without being specific about the politics of building a wall.  However, it would be difficult to include in a classroom curriculum as parents might disapprove of the content.
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It does not matter your stance, but it is a sad time in our country when political issues become children’s picture books. Fortunately, this will somewhat help small children to understand about the proposed ‘wall’. Please note that if you are a Trump or wall supporter then this book will not be for you.
Sam and his older brother share a room and like true siblings, it causes issues between them.  One night Sam sees the President on tv talking about building ‘the wall’ and it sounds like a great idea to him! In fact he starts writing the President about his situation.  Sam believes in one position about his wall and by the end of the book he is of  the opposite opinion.  

The book shows how communication and getting along is important to solving issues, even one as small as sharing a bedroom (which would actually be a huge deal to the children involved!)

It was cute to see Sam’s letters to the President evolve the way they did over the course of the book. I would have loved to see what the author’s interpretation of ‘the President’s’ responses would have been to Sam’s letters in this story, but that would have made the book even more political.

The book also teaches children about some real walls in the world: The Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall in England and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The pictures throughout the book definitely add to the story!

I tend to stay away from politically charged books, which this appeared to be, but the fact that it was a children’s picture book had me curious as to how this story played out. I am glad I had the opportunity to read and review it.
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***Thanks to the publishers and #Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***

This children's book tells a simple story, but it can be applied to complicated issues, especially those in politics today. It takes a more simplistic look at the decisions made by the president and it shows that there are other resolutions that are possible.
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ARC provided by NetGalley and Owlkids. 

I'm split on this. I usually do not like politically tinged commentary in books, as it can be very heavy handed and hard to pull off without feeling exploitative in some way.  I become even more suspicious when it's in the form of a children's book. With Dear Mr. President, we are made to think on how communication and cooperation are preferable to forming barriers with others. There is a strong lesson here, though it is tied a bit to our political climate. This is framed through the story of a young boy who, influenced by the (very obviously Trump) American President, wants to build a wall in the room he shares with his brother. He becomes obsessed with the idea, but eventually listens to others, admits his fixation was not healthy and that there is much to gain from ditching the wall idea. It's humorous and depicted through letters written to the president. 

It's an interesting idea we have to consider. Children are hearing what the President has to say and so us adults are prone to questions and the task of (unfortunately) dealing with the fallout of controversial issues and statements. Honestly, the outspoken nature of our sitting President is something of a bipartisan topic, so the political nature of this book, though left leaning, feels valid to a wide group. There WERE moments that felt somewhat preachy. like when the mother says she admires men who admit when they're wrong. This can be played off as a husband and wife joke, but I get the hint it's aimed directly at the President. Some readers may take issue with the book due to these things. 

Overall, though, I thought that the book was well balanced. It roots itself in the innocence of the young boy and the thoughts he has influenced by the President's actions. The artwork and text were average, with a looks not unlike political cartoons you'd see in the newspaper. This is a modern book set in our current political reality, but it's a reality we simply can't dismiss.
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Unfortunately in this time period of history, many of us are being asked extremely difficult questions by little ones. This particular book breaks down the subject of "the wall" in ways a child can understand, along with many opportunities for further questions and discussions. For the adults, it just may open some eyes to what children are taking from what they're hearing in the news, community, and even their own homes. Highly recommended!

Note: If you strongly support the wall, this book is not for you.
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This book takes a gentle swipe at Donald Trump and his policies--the border wall, in particular. Kids must be very confused at times when a person who's supposed to be a role model is advocating doing things that their own parents have spent years trying to dissuade them from.

In this story, Sam is fed up with his older brother. They have to share a room, so when Sam hears Trump (who isn't named, by the way; it's clearly him, though, and his hair does make a cameo) talking about building a border wall to keep out "undesirable" people, he thinks it might be the perfect solution to his sibling problem, too. But as Sam talks about it with his family, friends, and teachers, and learns more about walls and what they do (and have done, especially in the past) he comes to realize that maybe a wall isn't such a great idea after all. Sam's final letter wishes the president well with his own wall and suggests that maybe a small one would do. (Ah, the naivete of youth...)

Because Trump isn't actually named in the book, that aspect of the story might go over some kids' heads (especially if they're not familiar with Trump and his policies). It's interesting that this appears to be a New Zealand title originally; the version I read is from a Canadian publisher. I wonder how many American children will get a chance to read this subtly subversive book and maybe question their president's stubborn, xenophobic policies. Dear Mr. President frames the matter as sibling rivalry, but it's easy to see the parallels. Cooperation, communication, and negotiation should never be partisan issues. Maybe Trump needs someone to send him a copy of this book!

Overall, this is a clever little book with a timely message. Even after Trump's presidency is but a memory, this book will still have value... both historically and in a smaller--but still important--family-dynamics sort of way.
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I loved this book. I love that it showed a child’s perspective of “building a wall”. So many times , I’ve heard children repeat hateful remarks heard by the nation’s role models and this book showed how a child could perceive it. I loved the format of the book and the growth in both boys throughout.
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Dear Mr. President is a children's picture book that connects sibling rivalry, learning to live with others and the important and timely issue of tolerance and acceptance. This book is told is a series of letters to our current president, which although he is not named, is made clear by the illustrations and the topic of the book.

 Sam is the younger brother is his family and he is frustrated with sharing his room with his older brother. His plan is is build a "wall" and he writes a series of letters talking through his thoughts about it as well as the feedback he gets from his family members.

 I thought that the idea of sharing this book in a series of letters was unique but it sometimes felt a little clumsy as the reader. I have never been drawn to books that are told in that kind of format so that might just be my own preferences. I would have enjoyed a little more dialogue as it is a timely topic in our home, both sibling issues and the larger look at politics in our country today. 

I loved what a great conversation starter this book was for our family and our elementary aged children seemed like the perfect audience for this point of view. Although I struggled a bit with the flow of the book, I admire that the author took on this important topic and so appreciate when someone is able to talk about real life issues in a way that is accessible for a younger audience.
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