Dear President Obama

As President Obama prepares for his 100-day report card, pundits everywhere are in overdrive. We think they could do worse than to judge the president against the expectations of his youngest constituents. Back in November, we began collecting letters to Obama from kids across the nation, to compile as a book. We e-mailed a handful of friends in search of letters from their children. Those friends forwarded the e-mail to their friends, and within four weeks, we were sitting on more than 1,000 letters and drawings from children, ages 4 to 18, from 29 states and every region of the country. Talk about your embarrassment of riches.

This week, the letters, in book form, finally made it to the White House. Will the clarity of kidspeak cut through the perpetual din of presidential advice? We hope so. As 5-year-old Rukiya Holland-Thomas from Montclair, N.J., demonstrates in her letter, great leadership could be so beautifully simple.

"Dear President Obama," Rukiya wrote. "Help us be nice. Get everyone in the circle, and then you can tell them to listen to you."

Bruce Kluger and David Tabatsky compiled the just-published "Dear President Obama: Letters of Hope from Children Across America." www.obamakids.us

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