Kamala Harris : Rooted in Justice
by Grimes, Nikki; Freeman, Laura (ILT)

"The first-ever picture book biography on Senator Kamala Harris"-

Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the ALA Notable book What Is Goodbye?, as well as the novels Jazmin&;s Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris, all of them Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books. She won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for Bronx Masquerade. Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California. Visit Nikki at NikkiGrimes.com.

Laura Freeman has illustrated many fine children&;s books over the years, including Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe, written by Deborah Blumenthal, and the Coretta Scott King Honor book Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly and Winifred Conkling. Laura now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and their two children. Find out more about Laura at LFreemanArt.com.

This important biography of California Senator Kamala Harris comes at an opportune moment, when the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment intersects with the Black Lives Matter Movement. Weaving a fictional story around an account of Harris' factual biography, Grimes' picture book makes it easy for readers to identify with the recent Democratic presidential candidate. The story begins when an African American girl comes home from school angry that a classmate told her she couldn't be president because she's a girl. Her mother then explains how another girl, of Black and East Indian heritage, recently ran for president. Freeman's drawings work as hard as the prose to flesh out Harris' life with realistic illustrations of her childhood and career. The text emphasizes Harris' commitment to activism, education, and hard work. Vignettes showing her both protesting as a child with her parents and later with her sister to express her dismay with a landlord's rule about soccer-playing on their building's lawn will resonate with kids conversant with recent marches. A good bet for all libraries. Grades K-3. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Eve, a young black girl from Oakland, wants to be president one day, and her mother tells her all about Kamala Harris to show that it is possible. The story's opening, closing, and occasional exchanges between Eve and her mom are italicized while the lengthy narration of Kamala's life is not. The latter begins with the meaning of her name and her parents' origins in Jamaica and India before they met in Oakland, Kamala's birthplace. Densely packed lines of free-verse text trace her biography, scenes detailing the settings that made Kamala who she is, including the marches her parents attended, the school to which she was bused, the cultural center she frequented after school, her matriculation at a historically black college, and her career beyond law school, with the two penultimate spreads briefly covering her presidential run through the ending of her campaign. The brightly colored illustrations offer memorable moments for listeners to linger over while the extensive text is read aloud (few children will sustain interest in the story to read it independently to the end). Eve's story frame seems useful in the beginning , but it peters out midway through to become an awkward add-on to this in-depth biography, potentially confusing readers. Despite some weaknesses in its execution, this thorough portrait of the background and hard work that brought this biracial, black woman to her campaign for the presidency is worth sharing with children. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 61% of actual size.) A one-time read for most, but a worthy addition to the reference shelf. (timeline, sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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