Dear Donald Trump is a humorous but very thought-provoking book about a boy called Sam who has heard about Trump’s idea of building a wall on TV. He has a big brother who keeps him awake at night playing on his cell phone (which he is not supposed to do).
Sam thinks he could put Donald Trump’s idea to good use at home and decides to get in touch:
Dear Donald Trump
I’m writing you a letter from my bedroom in New Zealand. Sadly the room does not only belong to me. I have to share it with my big brother who exactly fits your description of an undesirable person.
I watched you on the TV news tonight and you said you were building a wall. It made me think that perhaps I need one too.
But when he flies his idea for a wall in his bedroom past his parents it goes down like a lead balloon. They won’t allow it.
At school, when there is a discussion about Donald Trump’s wall, most disagree with it. But Sam just thinks they don’t understand how annoying a big brother can be.
Intent on fulfilling his mission he practises building walls with stones and sand in the garden. It’s not too difficult at all.
And having adopted Donald Trump as his soulmate he keeps writing him letters to explain what others are doing to change his mind and how he is dealing with the opposition.
Eventually, his parents help him to see that building a wall is not the answer. Communication and negotiation is better than separation.
In his final letter to Donald Trump he lets him know that although he feels a bit silly about changing his mind his brother thinks it’s cool and his Mum says she admires a man who admits he is wrong.
Donald Trump does not get round to reading Sam’s letters. The delightful little illustrations on every page by Anne Villeneuve show how messengers did keep trying to deliver them but they couldn’t get his attention. He was snowed under with official engagements, out on the golf course, eating hamburgers and chips, having a bubble bath or on Twitter.
I shared this book at book club and all loved it. It would be a great way, as Rebekah Fraser from New Zealand book lovers has said, of sparking a conversation with children about kindness, compassion and peace in this turbulent time.
But should they want to know more about why Donald Trump wants to build a massive wall to keep people from a neighbouring country out this would not be easy to explain.
So I would recommend this book for upper primary and older children.
Dear Donald Trump is by Sophie Siers and illustrated by Anne Villeneuve. Publisher: Millwood Press. RRP $27.95
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveller, writer & passionate home cook