Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice

by Nikki Grimes (Author) Laura Freeman (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Discover the incredible story of a young daughter of immigrants who would grow up to be the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American ever elected Vice President of the United States in this moving picture book biography of Kamala Harris.

When Kamala Harris was young, she often accompanied her parents to civil rights marches--so many, in fact, that when her mother asked a frustrated Kamala what she wanted, the young girl responded with: "Freedom!"

As Kamala grew from a small girl in Oakland to a senator running for president, it was this long-fostered belief in freedom and justice for all people that shaped her into the inspiring figure she is today. From fighting for the use of a soccer field in middle school to fighting for the people of her home state in Congress, Senator Harris used her voice to speak up for what she believed in and for those who were otherwise unheard. And now this dedication has led her all the way to being elected Vice President of the United States.

Told in Nikki Grimes's stunning verse and featuring gorgeous illustrations by Laura Freeman, this picture book biography brings to life a story that shows all young people that the American dream can belong to all of us if we fight for one another.


Publishers Weekly

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.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

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

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"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"
Nikki Grimes
New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, the ALA Children's Literature Legacy Award, the ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, and the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her books include her critically acclaimed memoir in verse Ordinary Hazards as well as picture books Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice and Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope. She won the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade and earned a Coretta Scott King Author Honor five times--for Words with Wings, Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, Talkin' About Bessie, and The Road to Paris. Visit nikkigrimes.com.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781534462670
Lexile Measure
890L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date
August 20, 2020
Series
-
BISAC categories
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF007070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Political
Library of Congress categories
Biographies
United States
Women legislators
Legislators
Presidential candidates
Women presidential candidates
Harris, Kamala

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