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KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA by Meena Harris Kirkus Star


by Meena Harris ; illustrated by Ana Ramírez González

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-293740-7
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

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)