Review: Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
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I strongly believe that you do not have to buy books to enjoy them. I ALWAYS recommend using your library card to access books for FREE. However, I recognize that books make great gifts.

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

Written by Meena Harris, Illustrated by Ana Ramírez González
Balzer + Bray, 2020

It’s only fitting that on Inauguration Day, I review this picture book depicting our new Vice President Kamala Harris and her sister.

Two young sisters see the potential in the under-utilized courtyard of their apartment building. They imagine it with a playground and set to work to make their vision a reality. It begins with communicating their idea in a letter and accompanying picture, which is quickly shot down. Undeterred, they brainstorm with other children, gain support, re-draft their idea and ask again. This time, the answer isn’t no but rather, “if you can do it yourselves.” From there, they began campaigning for the change they wanted by soliciting parents and neighbors for help but with little success. Eventually, they get a “maybe” which creates a domino-effect of hope, hard work, and progress. It is not an overnight transformation. Improving the courtyard takes lots of time, effort, and teamwork. The children draw their community together with a neighborhood potluck and sidewalk sale. The book culminates in celebrating the persistence and contributions of everyone to benefit the community.

"No one could do everything. But everyone could do something."

This book is inspired by a true story from the childhood of Vice President Kamala Harris and her sister Maya. The last spread features photos of the real sisters as well as the author (Kamala’s niece). I love this book for its wonderful depiction of the hard work it takes to bring an idea to fruition. The girls face multiple setbacks and challenges. This story emphasizes the importance of communicating your ideas, rallying community support, and not giving up just because you are told “no” or dismissed. I love the messaging of ask again and my favorite line in the book is “No one could do everything. But everyone could do something.” The colorful illustrations depict a vibrant and diverse community.

Fantastic messaging emphasizing the power of persistence and teamwork


Meena Harris released her second picture book, Ambitious Girl, yesterday and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Also, don’t miss the celebrated picture book by the VP herself, Superheroes are Everywhere.


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