The perfect text for both budding activists and children interested in what Vice President Harris was like as a child.

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KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA

Before she was the first biracial, Black and South Asian female vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris was a little girl with big dreams.

One morning, Kamala and her sister, Maya, look out the window of their apartment and realize that their building is missing something essential: a playground! Following their mother’s advice, Kamala writes (and Maya illustrates) a letter to the landlord asking for one in their building’s courtyard. When they deliver their letter, the landlord immediately says no—but Kamala and Maya won’t take that for an answer. After getting permission to build the playground themselves, Kamala, Maya, and the other kids in their building get organized. At first, most of the adults are too busy or too distracted to help them, and all they hear is no. But then Mr. Green says that maybe he could get materials for a sandbox—and, as far as Kamala and Maya are concerned, maybes can become yeses. By the end of the book, through ingenuity, perseverance, and cooperation, Maya and Kamala don’t just have their playground: They also have the confidence they need to become lifelong public servants. In this sunnily illustrated picture book, author Harris—Vice President Harris’ niece and Maya Harris’ daughter—imagines the details of a true story her mother told her growing up. The clear and readable storyline deftly balances optimism with the challenges of community organizing.

The perfect text for both budding activists and children interested in what Vice President Harris was like as a child. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293740-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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