Dreams from My Father (Adapted for Young Adults): A Story of Race and Inheritance - book cover
  • Publisher : Delacorte Press
  • Published : 05 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 320
  • ISBN-10 : 0385738722
  • ISBN-13 : 9780385738729
  • Language : English

Dreams from My Father (Adapted for Young Adults): A Story of Race and Inheritance

Now adapted for young adults-the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, which Toni Morrison called "quite extraordinary," offers an intimate look at Barack Obama's early days. This is a compelling journey tracing the future 44th president's odyssey through family, race, and identity.
A revealing portrait of a young Black man asking questions about self-discovery and belonging-long before he became one of the most important voices in America. This unique edition includes a new introduction from the author, full-color photo insert, and family tree. 
The son of a white American mother and a Black Kenyan father, Obama was born in Hawaii, where he lived until he was six years old, when he moved with his mother and stepfather to Indonesia. At twelve, he returned to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. Obama brings readers along as he faces the challenges of high school and college, living in New York, becoming a community organizer in Chicago, and traveling to Kenya. Through these experiences, he forms an enduring commitment to leadership and justice. Told through the lens of his relationships with his family-the mother and grandparents who raised him, the father he knows more as a myth than as a man, and the extended family in Kenya he meets for the first time-Obama confronts the complicated truth of his father's life and legacy and comes to embrace his divided heritage.
On his journey to adulthood from a humble background, he forges his own path through trial and error while staying connected to his roots. Barack Obama is determined to lead a life of purpose, service, and authenticity. This powerful memoir will inspire readers to examine both where they come from and where they are capable of going.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Dreams from My Father


"Guides us straight to the intersection of the most serious questions of identity, class, and race." -The Washington Post

"Provocative. . . . Persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither." -The New York Times Book Review

"Obama's writing is incisive yet forgiving. This is a book worth savoring."-Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

"One of the most powerful books of self-discovery I've ever read, all the more so for its illuminating insights into the problems not only of race, class, and color, but of culture and ethnicity. It is also beautifully written, skillfully layered, and paced like a good novel." -Charlayne Hunter-Gault, author of In My Place

"Dreams from My Father is an exquisite, sensitive study of this wonderful young author's journey into adulthood, his search for community and his place in it, his quest for an understanding of his roots, and his discovery of the poetry of human life. Perceptive and wise, this book will tell you something about yourself whether you are black or white." -Marian Wright Edelman

Readers Top Reviews

Heart felt and inspirational! I'll be buying another copy for my grandson.
Sandy Kiefner
As always, i enjoy Obama’s books but this one was deeply personal - discussing his childhood. I kept thinking how smart, open minded and mature he must have been as a child. Obviously this became true during his life and continues. Great book.

Short Excerpt Teaser

I barely knew my father. He left our home in Hawaii back in 1963, when I was only two. I didn't even know I was supposed to have a father who lived with his family. All I knew were the stories that my mother and grandparents told.
They had their favorites. I can still picture Gramps lean­ing back in his old stuffed chair, laughing about the time my father-whose name, like mine, was Barack Obama-almost threw a man off the Pali Lookout, a mountain cliff not far from our home in the city of Honolulu, because of a pipe.
"See, your mom and dad decided to drive this visiting friend around the island-and Barack was probably on the wrong side of the road the whole way-"
"Your father was a terrible driver," my mother said to me. "He'd end up on the left side, the way the British drive, and if you said something he'd just huff about silly American rules-"
"And they got out and stood at the railing of this cliff to admire the view. And your father, he was puffing away on this pipe that I'd given him for his birthday, pointing out all the sights with the stem like a sea captain-"
"He was really proud of this pipe," my mother interrupted again.
"Look, Ann, do you want to tell the story or are you going to let me finish?"
"Sorry, Dad. Go ahead."
"Anyway, the fella asked Barack if he could give the pipe a try. But as soon as he took his first puff, he started coughing up a fit. Coughed so hard that the pipe slipped out of his hand and dropped over the railing, a hundred feet down the face of the cliff. So your dad told him to climb over the railing and bring the pipe back."
Gramps was laughing so hard he had to pause. "The man took one look over the side and said he'd buy him a replace­ment. But Barack said it had been a gift and it couldn't be re­placed. That's when your dad picked him clear off the ground and started dangling him over the railing!"
As he laughed, I imagined myself looking up at my father, dark against the brilliant sun, the man's arms flailing. It was like something out of the Bible-a terrifying yet impressive vision, like a king delivering justice.
I asked if he'd thrown the man off.
"No, he put him down," said Gramps. "After a time. Then your dad patted him on the back and suggested, calm as you please, that they all go have a beer. After that he acted like noth­ing had happened."
My mother said it wasn't that bad, that my father didn't hold the man very far out.
"You were pretty upset when you got home," Gramps told my mother. "But Barack just shook his head and started to laugh. He had this deep voice, see, and this British accent. He said, ‘I only wanted to teach the chap a lesson about the proper care of other people's property!' "
My grandmother, Toot, came in from the kitchen and said it was a good thing my father had realized that his friend drop­ping the pipe had been an accident-or who knows would have happened?
My mother rolled her eyes and said they were exaggerating. Yes, she said, my father could be domineering, but only because he was honest. "If he thought he was right, he never liked to compromise," she said.
She preferred another story Gramps told, about the time my father agreed to sing some African songs at an international music festival, not realizing it was a "big to-do." It turned out that the woman who performed just before him was a pro with a full band. "Anyone else would have backed out," said Gramps. "But not Barack. He got up and started singing in front of this big crowd-which is no easy feat, let me tell you-and he wasn't great, but he was so sure of himself that before you knew it he was getting as much applause as anybody."
"Now there's something you can learn from your dad," he would tell me. "Confidence. The secret to a man's success."
THAT'S HOW ALL the stories went-short, with some tidy moral. Then my family would pack them away like old photos and take them out again, months or years later. My mother kept a few actual photos of my father, too. But when she started dating Lolo, the man she'd eventually marry, she put them in a closet. Every once in a while I'd be rummaging around in search of Christmas ornaments or an old snorkel set, and I'd come across them. Sometimes my mother and I looked at them together. I'd stare at my father's likeness-the dark laughing face, the big forehead and thick glasses-and she'd say, "You have me to thank for your big eyebrows-your father has these little wispy ones. But your brains, your character, you got from him."
I would listen as she told me his story.
My father was an African, a Kenyan who'd grown up in a tribe called the Luos. He was born on the shores of Lake Vic­toria in a place called Alego. The village of Alego was poor, but his father-my other grandfather-was an elder of...