A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows what it's like to organize a building project, see it through to the end, get contributions from neighbors, and throw a bake sale and sidewalk sale to help pay for it. Tells readers a bit about Kamala Harris and her sister, Maya, although it incorporates fictional characters and details. Back matter includes photos of them from childhood, and a photo of them with the author today as grown-ups.
Never give up, even if you hear no the first and second time. A "maybe" can give you hope, because it can turn into a yes. People working together can accomplish great things. "No one could do everything. But everyone could do something." In back matter, author notes that her grandmother, Kamala and Maya's mother, always taught her, "Everyone has a part to play, no matter how small."
Positive Role Models
Kamala and Maya show leadership, persistence. (Author calls them "per-sisters" in the text.) They have a big idea and make it happen. As author notes at back of book, "They would go on to achieve great things, both as public interest lawyers dedicated to improving their communities. They always made sure I knew I could do anything, too." Their mom is supportive of their project. Even though landlord at first turns down their idea because it's too expensive, he lets the families do it themselves. After it's done he compliments Kamala and shakes her hand: "You did a good job. You all did a good job."
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kamala and Maya's Big Idea is a picture book inspired by real-life events in the childhood of U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her sister, Maya, written by Maya's daughter, Meena Harris. It tells the story of when the two sisters got the "big idea" to ask the landlord of their apartment building to turn an unused courtyard into a playground. He said no, but Kamala countered by saying that the building's families could build it, and he gave his permission. The rest of the book shows the community -- kids and grown-ups -- working together to make it happen. Ana Ramírez González's colorful, cheerful illustrations make their hard work look like loads of fun.
Is It Any Good?
This charming story of not taking no for an answer and organizing to create something positive for the community is a joyful, inspiring example of kid activism. Kamala and Maya's Big Idea shows that kids can be leaders and teach grown-ups what's possible. Readers will also get to know something about who Kamala Harris is, now that she's a candidate to be vice president of the United States, and learn about her roots as a leader from a young age. And they'll be swept up by Ana Ramírez González's kid-like illustrations that show neighbors coming together and working hard to make where they live a better place for everyone.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.