The perfect text for both budding activists and children interested in what Vice President Harris was like as a child.

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KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA

Before she was the first biracial, Black and South Asian female vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris was a little girl with big dreams.

One morning, Kamala and her sister, Maya, look out the window of their apartment and realize that their building is missing something essential: a playground! Following their mother’s advice, Kamala writes (and Maya illustrates) a letter to the landlord asking for one in their building’s courtyard. When they deliver their letter, the landlord immediately says no—but Kamala and Maya won’t take that for an answer. After getting permission to build the playground themselves, Kamala, Maya, and the other kids in their building get organized. At first, most of the adults are too busy or too distracted to help them, and all they hear is no. But then Mr. Green says that maybe he could get materials for a sandbox—and, as far as Kamala and Maya are concerned, maybes can become yeses. By the end of the book, through ingenuity, perseverance, and cooperation, Maya and Kamala don’t just have their playground: They also have the confidence they need to become lifelong public servants. In this sunnily illustrated picture book, author Harris—Vice President Harris’ niece and Maya Harris’ daughter—imagines the details of a true story her mother told her growing up. The clear and readable storyline deftly balances optimism with the challenges of community organizing.

The perfect text for both budding activists and children interested in what Vice President Harris was like as a child. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293740-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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The book is available in just about every format--but this is the perfect one.

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU

POP-UP

It's hard to believe that a pop-up wasn't the creators' original intention, so seamlessly do moveable parts dovetail into this modern classic's storyline.

In contrast to the tale's 1998 pop -up version, the figures here move on every page, and with an unusually graceful naturalism to boot. From pulling down Big Nutbrown Hare's ears on the opening spread to make sure he's listening to drowsily turning his head to accept a final good-night kiss in a multi-leveled pull-down tableau at the close, all of Little Nutbrown Hare's hops, stretches and small gestures serve the poetically spare text—as do Big Nutbrown's wider, higher responses to his charge's challenges. As readers turn a flap to read Big Nutbrown's "But I love you this much," his arms extend to demonstrate. The emotional connection between the two hares is clearer than ever in Jeram's peaceful, restrained outdoor scenes, which are slightly larger than those in the trade edition, and the closing scene is made even more intimate by hiding the closing line ("I love you right up to the moon—and back") until an inconspicuous flap is opened up.  

The book is available in just about every format--but this is the perfect one. (Pop-up picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5378-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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