Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea By Meena Harris, Illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez (2020) – hardcover
Author Meena Harris a lawyer and entrepreneur, and niece of Senator Kamala Harris! She was inspired to write this story based on an anecdote from her mother (Maya Harris) and aunt’s childhood. Two sisters, Kamala and Maya, want to transform the drab, underutilized courtyard of their apartment building into a playground. The landlord believes this job to be far too much work and far too expensive. But the girls continue to push their big idea, which they know would benefit many of the residents. It’s nice to see that the residents represent an array of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
After some convincing, the landlord agrees to the idea but on one condition: the parents and kids must do it all on their own. All the parents said no at first but as soon as one resident agreed to pitch in, the rest fell in line! After some hard work, time, and fundraising, they were able to complete their wonderful playground. Author Meena Harris includes a heartfelt note about all of the strong women that raised her and inspired her to write this story.
I loved illustrator Ana Ramírez González’s choice of a bright color palette. It created a cheerful and uplifting vibe throughout the story. She was a visual development artist on the fabulous Pixar film, Coco. For fans of the film, you know she must be talented!
Take-away message: From the story, “no one could do everything. But everything could do something.” This is such a valuable lesson for kids and adults alike! Kamala and Maya alone could not complete the big job of renovating their apartment courtyard. But their efforts to stir up interest and support and create a team made their dream a reality.
This story teaches kids to be persistent and never give up on the ideas they feel passionate about. We all have big ideas that might be a challenge to achieve alone. But, if we come together, we can achieve anything.
TAGS: Notable POC, siblings, family, female lead, diverse characters, hardcover
Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea coloring page from Harper Collins
“Read Aloud” with Author Meena Harris
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