Kamala and Maya's Big Idea

Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
June 02, 2020
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Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two sisters who work with their community to effect change, inspired by a true story from the childhood of her aunt, US Senator Kamala Harris, and mother, lawyer, and policy expert Maya Harris.

One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: they would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground!

This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned a dream into reality. This is a story of children’s ability to make a difference and of a community coming together to transform their neighborhood.

Editor review

1 review
great picture book about making a difference
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA is a picture book based on a true story about pursuing your goals and doing the work to make it happen. Kamala and Maya live in an apartment complex with an open courtyard. They have a great idea to have a playground installed there, but the process is not easy. First, they must convince the landlord. When he says no, they try again and then learn why- the cost and time. Kamala and Maya then work with the other residents to find a way to turn no into maybe into yes!

What I loved: It is so great to learn that this is a true story, and that kids really can make a big difference in the world around them. Kamala and Maya have an idea and then figure out the steps to make it happen, following them along the way. I also really appreciated how the whole apartment came together to make the playground come to life. The book showcases teamwork and dedication to meeting your goals.

This book could be great in the classroom setting for introducing the concept of making a difference and seeing ways to improve the world around you. The encouragement and the true story behind it would go far in encouraging children inside and out of class to reach for their goals. As a note, the text is a little long, so this would be better for elementary school aged children. The illustrations are full of color as well.

Final verdict: An encouraging picture book with lessons about achieving your goals, KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA is a fun read that can start some great conversations about how to make a difference.
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