Do you want to raise children who believe their ideas and actions can make a difference in this world? If so, you will love my featured books today! Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea features Kamala Harris and her sister, Maya, when they were young and is based on a true story. The story is retold by Kamala’s niece, Meena Harris. In the book the girls have an idea to turn the empty lot near their apartment into a playground. They show persistence, learn to advocate with spoken and written words, and gather allies, as they work towards their goal. In spite of disappointments they persist and problem solve one step at a time with and without the adults in their lives.
The dialogue, simple language, and bits of repetition make this story accessible to read independently for ages 6-8 and fun as a read aloud for ages 3 and above. My favorite line from the book was:
“No one could do everything. But everyone could do something.”
The illustrations by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez are colorful and cheerful. I enjoyed learning that Ana grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico and lives in Oakland, California. She worked on the movie, Coco, and illustrated the companion picture book Coco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt de la Pena.
The last pages of the book include an author’s note and photographs of the girls. This is a wonderful story celebrating girl power and the strength of community. I recommend it as an addition to your home or classroom library. This would make an excellent gift especially at this historic moment of Senator Kamala Harris being the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States.
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When I first read Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea I immediately thought of the book, The More We Get Together, written by Celeste Cortright and illustrated by Betania Zacarias. Cortright cleverly takes a traditional sing along and creates a rhyming, lighthearted call to action for young people and their families. When we use alternative modes of transportation, help others, recycle, and speak up about things we want to change, we can make the world a better place. The four pages of endnotes share specific ways kids can make a difference and participate in community building and teamwork.
The colorful illustrations are inviting for young children. Children will recognize themselves in this book as it is both racially diverse and inclusive of different abilities. The book includes a man with a visual impairment being assisted by his guide dog, a boy wearing noise canceling headphones, a boy with a prosthetic leg, a doctor using crutches, and folks using wheelchairs. Men cook, women do yard work, and children take action to make their community a better place for all! And here’s an extra fun addition…there’s an animal that appears throughout the book that little ones can try to find.
I highly recommend this engaging, vibrant sing along from Barefoot Books for ages 2-6. The addition of the endnotes make it a great gift for siblings.
Beyond the Books
Discussion Questions (recommended for ages 4 and above):
8/24/2020 09:51:09 am
Sounds like a wonderful book! I especially love the quote!
8/31/2020 12:25:53 pm
Your discussion tips are so amazing! The idea of how they are similar, and how are they different takes a lot of thought. It requires one to be very specific, and look for the exact word in the answer. It teaches us to be critical thinkers.
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About the Author
I am a mom to two sweet and lively boys and live in Santa Barbara, California. My oldest has Cornelia deLange Syndrome. He fuels my passion for advocating for equity and inclusion wherever I go. I love the power of a good story to inspire, educate, and make change in our world.