Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice

S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534462670.
Gr 1-4–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.

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