I have to believe Becoming is one of the best sellers of all time because never in my life have I known multiple people who have read a book and multiple people who have asked to borrow a book (and it’s so good I’m a little leery to lend). Honestly, I didn’t even plan to read it but Danny bought it for me as a Christmas present and I wasn’t reading anything else over the holiday so I started it. It took me about two pages to become hooked. Since everyone is reading the book, I won’t bother recapping it but I will link to some things she mentioned and other related topics, if you just can’t get enough.
Michelle Obama is real. She’s relatable and honest in a way most people aren’t. She talks about Disney on Ice, shopping at Target, and unwinding with HGTV and People magazine. Her accomplishments are extraordinary but her story is approachable. She talks about how she used her cultural, every-day knowledge to help promote important issues and expose people to new artist. Here are some examples she referenced in the book:
- Lin Manuel Miranda’s first appearance at the White House
- Lin’s moving tribute in the final months of the administration (Barack also contributed to the final #Hamildrop version)
- Carpool Karaoke with James Corden
- National Gallery portraits (can’t wait for a new administration because I really want to take the guys to DC!)
Growing up in a ‘traditional’ Southside Chicago family is a big part of Michelle’s story and identity. She talks about her visit to Harper High School on Chicago’s Southside and this – This American Life podcast. She met with the school’s principal, Loretta Sanders, social workers and 22 students. These kids live lives most of us can’t begin to imagine and the staff bear the burden of trying to keep them safe, while also feeling the pressure of academic standards and little funding. The podcast is two parts, 2 hours long and worth the time. We all need to hear these stories more and work harder to change the devastating reality too many young people are burdened with.
As First Lady, the First Garden and children’s health/nutrition was a central issue she championed. I know nothing about gardening but I really want us to be able to grow our own food (gotta plan for the apocalypse). I checked out First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew to read with Lucas. He enthusiastically calls it ‘The Michelle Obama Book” but it may be a little long for his age. We also checked out Square Foot Gardening with Kids to get him excited for our spring project. And I think I’ll check out Michelle’s other book, American Grown to see what tips she may be able to offer in this area.
“Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” – the same spirit and possibly the same phrase that attracted her to Barack did the same for me all those years ago (albeit in a different way – I love the man but I’m not crushing). I was glad to see it in writing and be reminded of the work that needs to be done. If Becoming is on hold at your library, Dreams from My Father by Barack is a great read. One for the kiddos is of Thee I Sing a children’s book he wrote for Sasha and Malia that highlights the accomplishments of prominent historical figures.