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>Yes, boys, but when no one is looking?

>Katie Couric apparently asked McCain and Obama about their favorite books and got pretty convincing answers: McCain chose For Whom the Bell Tolls and Obama Song of Solomon.

As I said in the comments on yesterday’s post re Palin’s reading choices, “What are you reading?” and “What is your favorite book?” aren’t as easy to answer as they look. Both the presidential candidates give clearly deliberated answers (so would I), meant to convey Who They Are. I’m more interested in knowing what they read off the clock–beach, bedtime, bathroom.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >Well, we know from the ad last night that Obama’s read all of Harry Potter, at least — no word on whether he enjoyed it or not. 🙂

  2. Roger Sutton says:

    >Really? I was watching The Singing Nun. What else did I miss?

  3. Anonymous says:

    >isn’t it kind of reverse snobbery to assume someone who lists either of those books (or others like it) are lying? i don’t think it’s so outlandish that either one of those would be someone’s favorite.

    (my favorite book is tiger eyes, so it’s not like i don’t see both sides)


  4. Roger Sutton says:

    >I don’t think they’re lying at all. I do think people have public favorite books, private favorite books, books-that-make-a-statement favorite books, etc. Any political candidate who answered this question carelessly is too stupid to govern, but I never meant to imply that either guy was dissembling.

  5. Debbie Reese says:

    >What else did you miss? A father was shown reading a picture book to his child. I didn’t catch the title of the book.

    Related only because I saw it during the same 24 hour period of the Obama piece, is a Halloween themed SIMPSON’S that ends with three characters promoting literacy. One says something like “buy a children’s book and give it to someone.”

  6. janeyolen says:

    >He said he read all of the Harry Potter books to his oldest daughter.


  7. Anonymous says:

    >I remember when this same question was asked of George W Bush four years ago when he was in a 4th grade classroom promoting literacy. A kid asked him what his favorite book was, and W drew a blank. Before he left, though, it came to him so he made a point of seeking out the kid to tell him his favorite book was his own mother’s autobiography. Then the kid asked him a second tough question: what’s the title? Bush drew another blank. (For the record, the title is Barbara Bush: A Memoir.)

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