Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Laura Freeman

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Laura Freeman. Atheneum, 2020. 9781534462670

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? This picture book biography (published in 8/25/20) must have been written before Harris was tapped to be Vice President (8/11/20), but its focus on her life and her potential still work now. Structured as a conversation between African American first grader Eve and her mom, the book begins as the mother and daughter talk about whether girls can be president. Harris’s life is related by Eve’s mom in Nikki Grimes’ poetic prose. (Dialogue between them is in italics, and the narrative description of Harris’s life is in normal type, so it’s easy to discern.) Harris’s family is described as a “strong black-and-brown braid.” When Harris chooses to return to the U.S. from Canada for college, “memories of her home country still rang her heart like a bell.” Lovely! Striking realistic digital art really does justice to Harris and complements the text. I appreciate the back matter, consisting of a timeline and sources.

Anything you didn’t like about it? At times, especially on the last page, the mother/daughter dialogue feels extraneous.

To whom would you recommend this book?  For ages 5-9, especially for those interested in African American women in politics. Perfect for classrooms.

Who should buy this book? Day cares, elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Biography

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? It’s worth taking a look, as I believe it’s the most recent book for children on Harris.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date: January 5, 2021

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