written by Nikki Grimes
illustrated by Laura Freeman
Buy this book:
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice
About the Book
Discover the incredible story of a young daughter of immigrants who would grow up to defend the rights of people everywhere in this moving picture book biography of Senator 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.
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.
Awards and Recognition
- Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Books 2020
- NAACP Image Award Nomination 2021, Outstanding Literary Work, Children
- Nerdies: Best Nonfiction Picture Books 2020
- New York Times Bestseller List 2020–2021
- Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2021
- Wisconsin State Reading Association Picture This Recommended List
- “Contemporary Fiction Views: Because We Deserve Them,” bookgirl, Daily Kos, 19 Jan 2021
- “Kamala Harris Sworn in as First Female Vice President in United States’ 244-Year History,” A Mighty Girl staff, A Mighty Girl, 20 Jan 2021
- “Meet Your New President! 6 Books Introduce Kids to Biden, Harris … and Champ and Major, Too!” Alison Slater Tate, The Today Show, 21 Jan 202
his important biography of California Senator Kamala Harries 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.” (Booklist)
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. (School Library Journal)