The book is a tribute to 13 Americans, from the first president, George Washington, to baseball great Jackie Robinson to artist Georgia O’Keeffe. It will be released on November 16 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. The book was due to be officially announced on Tuesday.
Mr Obama is not the first president to write for young people. Jimmy Carter’s “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer” was published in 1995, more than a decade after he left office.
More in line with President Obama’s effort, Theodore Roosevelt collaborated with Henry Cabot Lodge on “Hero Tales from American History,” released in 1895, before Roosevelt was president.
Mr Obama’s book is illustrated by Loren Long, whose many credits include Watty Piper’s classic “The Little Engine That Could,” Randall de Seve’s “Toy Boat” and Madonna’s “Mr Peabody’s Apples.”
Mr Long wrote and illustrated the children’s stories “Otis” and “Drummer Boy”. His cover design for “Of Thee I Sing” is a sunny impression of presidential daughters Sasha and Malia Obama walking their dog, Bo, along a grassy field.
Random House children’s president and publisher Chip Gibson lauded the new Obama book, which is intended for readers age three and up.
“It is an honour to publish this extraordinary book, which is an inspiring marriage of words and images, history and story,” Mr Gibson said.
“‘Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters’ celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans – the potential to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths.”
Mr Obama’s 40-page book will have a first printing of 500,000 copies and a list price of $17.99. Both of Obama’s previous works, the memoir “Dreams From My Father” and the policy book “The Audacity of Hope,” are million sellers published by Crown, a division of Random House Inc.
The president will donate any author proceeds to “a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled soldiers serving our nation,” the publisher said in a statement.
President Obama agreed with Random House in 2004 to write a children’s book, which, according to the publisher, he completed before he became president.
“Of Thee I Sing” is part of a $1.9 million, three-book deal with Random House reached in 2004, according to a disclosure report filed in 2005, when Mr Obama was a US senator from Illinois. The other two books were non-fiction. [via Daily Telegraph (UK), Washington Post and Politics Daily]