Review by Booklist Review
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.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Lightly framed as a conversation between a girl and her mother, this comprehensive picture book biography follows formative events in the life of former presidential candidate and "lawyer, prosecutor, Senator" Kamala Harris. Though each page is information-dense, lyrical prose makes the text effortlessly readable ("Right away, Kamala was like clay/ her parents molded for action..../ chewing on her pacifier/ and words like 'peace' and 'justice' "). 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: "Kamala Harris is still writing/ her American story.// And so are you." Back matter includes a timeline and sources. Ages 4--8. (Aug.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 1--4--Award-winning poet and author Grimes offers a picture book biography of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who became the first female District Attorney of San Francisco and later the first Black woman to serve as attorney general of California. Born in Oakland, CA, in 1964, Harris was exposed to activism at a young age. When she was still a baby, her parents brought Harris to civil rights marches and lectures by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Using poetic language and striking imagery, Grimes details the future senator's life, from her beginnings to her presidential run in 2020. Freeman's artwork adds rich details and illuminates Grimes's prose. The bright colors and background scenes pop on the pages and reflect Harris's journey. The text focuses on Harris's life and career and highlights the positive, inspiring aspects of her accomplishments. However, Grimes also depicts the struggles Harris faced, including personal failures (not passing the California Bar Exam on the first try) and family issues (her parents' divorce at the age of seven). A time line and sources are included in the back matter. VERDICT Penned by wordsmith Grimes and vividly illustrated by Freeman, this is an age-appropriate depiction of a notable figure in American politics. A worthy addition to children's biography collections.--Molly Dettmann, Norman North H.S., OK
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
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 (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.