April 7th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Letters to the President #1174: 'Reading fever'

Reporter's Note: President Obama gets a letter from me every day, even on holiday weekends.

Dear Mr. President,

Have you read The Hunger Games? I don’t know if I have mentioned this to you before. My younger daughter became quite excited about the series a few weeks back and tore through the three books in that series like a wheat thresher. It was amazing. We’d tell her goodnight and send her off to bed, and the next morning she’d be all smiling and red eyed.

“What’s up with you?” my wife would ask. She’d laugh and say, “I stayed up reading until 1:30.” “Oh my heavens! It’s a school night,” my wife would respond. “I know, but it’s soooooo good!”

Nothing could make me happier. When I was a kid, I loved falling in love with a new book; pounding through the pages, hour after hour, devouring every word as I simultaneously rushed toward and dreaded the end.

I used to ride my bicycle three miles into town when I was in junior high to go to the library in the summer. I would check out two or three books, climb back onto my bike and read all the way home as I peddled. We lived in the country and the roads in that part of Illinois are so long and straight this was not much of a trick.

In high school, I had the idea that I would read every book in the school library. A little quick math told me that plan was a shade ambitious, so I changed to a simpler idea: I would ready every single biography. I nearly did. That year I ripped through biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and anything I could find that even hinted at the story of a person’s life.

I still read a tremendous amount and I always have several books going at once. I’m currently reading "Great Expectations," a book on trail running, one called "Running with the Buffalos," "The Guns of August," and yes... "The Hunger Games." My daughter insisted.

So far, it’s pretty good fun, and it is something she and I can share.

And what else could a parent want? Over the years, books have taken me on adventures, introduced me to great souls, inspired me with great ideas, and given me the world... even as I still read them deep into the night just as my daughter does.


April 7th, 2012
12:05 AM ET

Kids on Race: Mikayla's story

Editor's note: Tune in on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET for Anderson Cooper's special program about "Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture."

Do we make unconscious judgments about people based on skin color? And, for the children involved in our landmark study, did their answers to our questions change, depending on race?

Our ongoing "Kids on Race" series has sought to locate the origins of racial issues that so often seem native to the American experience. We decided that by talking directly with children– innocent, impressionable, and honest– as they are slowly being introduced to society, we might learn how prejudice can take hold of young minds... and from this early point, despite our best intentions, sometimes never let go.


Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Kids on Race • Soledad O'Brien
April 7th, 2012
12:03 AM ET

Eyewitness to the Trayvon Martin shooting speaks out

Exclusively on AC360, a key witness to the Trayvon Martin shooting says police turned away what could have been important information about the case.

It's been almost six weeks since George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin fatefully crossed paths, yet we still don't know with absolute certainty what happened that night. What caused the scuffle in the first place? Did Martin confront and attack Zimmerman, and pose a mortal threat? Or did Zimmerman act with unprovoked lethal aggression? There are plenty of conflicting claims, and very few incontestable truths.


Filed under: 360° Interview • 360° Radar • Trayvon Martin