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Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice Hardcover – Illustrated, August 25, 2020
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"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." -- Kirkus Reviews ― June 2020
"Lyrical prose makes the text effortlessly readable . . . In multitextured digital art, Freeman succeeds in creatively capturing a range of Harris’s expressions and experiences, exemplified by a layered portrait of her life and legacy. Notably, Grimes covers Harris’s presidential run and withdrawal, leaving young readers with an uplifting message of perseverance and agency." -- Publisher's Weekly ― July 2020
"This important biography of California Senator Kamala Harries 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....Freeman's drawings work as hard as the prose to flesh out Harris' life with realistic illustrations of her childhood and career." -- Booklist ― August 2020
"...Prolific author and poet Nikki Grimes is a master storyteller. Written for children aged four to eight, Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice is a politician's origin story, focusing especially on her youth as the child of immigrants. The book is written in memorable verse, with turns of phrase that will inspire your kids and tell Harris's story." -- Oprah Magazine ― November 9, 2020
“Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice” unfolds as a road map to how anyone can try for the job through hard work, dedication, caring and confidence....An enlightening and, at times, lyrical portrait of a woman whose life has always been about advocating for others." -- The New York Times Book Review ― December 27, 2020
"Nikki Grimes' elegant poetry, which frames the story as a conversation between a girl and her mother, and luminous illustrations by Laura Freeman, create a portrait of a woman who knows that she will never give up on what matters." -- A Mighty Girl ― January 20, 2021
About the Author
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.
- Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (August 25, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 40 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1534462678
- ISBN-13 : 978-1534462670
- Reading age : 4 - 8 years
- Lexile measure : AD890L
- Grade level : Preschool - 3
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 10 x 0.4 x 10 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"...and a waterfall of laughter sputtered from her mother's mouth."
"Kamala's family line was a strong black-and-brown braid coiling from India...to Jamaica...to Berkeley, California..."
"...her family squeezed into a different shape. Her parents divorced."
"Kamala Harris is still writing her American story."
The book begins with her parents ancestry, travels through Kamala's youth, then to college, then her jobs up to Senator, and then touches on her run for POTUS in 2020. The content is not in depth, but provides an excellent overview of her life for children (and adults) in a strong introduction to Kamala. The book does not address her record or any policy positions so remains neutral on anything of substance for her career, but clearly demonstrates her many accomplishments as well as some setbacks. For most readers this book will be a satisfying study of Senator Harris and her life thus far.
The only flaw in the book is the last page. The story is intertwined with a little girl named Eve who comes home from school and says a boy in her class says girls can't be president, hence her mom tells her the story of Kamala running for President to disprove the boy. On the last page of the book the little girl tells her mom that tomorrow she will tell the boy that he is wrong and that he is a doofus. The mom says she has raised her daughter better than to name call, so the child says, "Okay I won't tell him," and the narrative and illustration add, "said Eve, her fingers crossed behind her back."
I was extremely disappointed in the author's choice to include a narrative of name calling and lying. This is a book about a woman being independent, strong, brave, fighting for justice, being a leader for girls everywhere and especially Black and brown girls. Why does the story end on a note of a child lying? This ending shifts the narrative of this story from one of joy at the accomplishments of Kamala to a tale of kids being unkind and dishonest. Why?
I will read this again with my kids, but will likely omit the last page entirely. It takes away so much from the story and adds absolutely nothing so I think it is appropriate to "censor" this page in future readings.
Nikki allows a mother to tell about Kamala to her daughter, Eve, a first-grader who has arrived home from school fuming. A boy has told her that girls cannot be President! Her mother shares that he's wrong, that a girl from Oakland hopes to be that President one day. Thus, she begins with Kamala's story, with her name meaning "lotus flower" and a smile that opens wide "like petals fanning across the water's surface." The metaphor itself reveals a life as Nikki expands it, reminding through the mother's voice that you don't see the flower's roots. "They grow deep, deep, deep down."
Kamala's story travels from her beginnings marching in her stroller with her parents for civil rights, visiting with grandparents who also fought for other's rights in other countries, riding a bus to school during the integration of schools in her elementary years. Nikki fills the story with Kamala's continuing striving for leadership and justice from her Howard University time when she ran for the class representative of the Liberal Arts Council through her time at Hastings College of the Law when she served as President of the Black Law Students Association and hosted a job fair for black law students to have a chance to be hired.
Don't miss the rest of her story in Nikki's book! With some setbacks and many wins, Kamala does not stop being the same kind of person we see on the news today, a fighter for truth and justice for all. Freeman's scenes fill the pages with pictures imagined from Nikki's words, groups of people in history, including Kamala there living her life of thoughtful public service. It takes her life all the way to her dropping out of the Presidential race yet Nikki writes: "Kamala Harris is still writing her American story."
A timeline of major events in Kamala's life is added at the back. It's a beautiful book to share this fall, before the election!
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