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The best books on Kamala Harris

recommended by Five Books

If you want to know more about Kamala Harris, the 49th Vice President of the United States and the first woman to hold the job, her own memoir is a great place to start, especially as there aren't (m)any books about her yet. It's available for different age groups, including children and teenagers. We've put together this list of her books at speed, and will update it as soon as we can do a full Five Books interview.

There aren’t many books about Kamala Harris yet, but she’s written quite a few herself—mostly versions of her memoirs, but aimed at different age groups. There have also been a couple of children’s books about her, written to inspire and empower. Harris has also written a book about her time as a public prosecutor, Smart on Crimethough she covers a lot of the same ground in her chapters on criminal justice and its reform in her memoir.

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris

The Truths We Hold is Kamala Harris’s memoir, published in 2019. It’s really a manifesto, an account of the issues she cares about, interspersed with the story of her personal life. Her parents were both immigrants, her mother from southern India, her father from Jamaica. They met as students in Berkeley and were both involved in the civil rights movement. They split up when she was five, and Kamala was mainly brought up by her mother. The memoir chronicles her career as a ‘progressive’ public prosecutor, culminating in a stint as District Attorney for California, and finally her election as Senator. This is a deeply impressive story, told in a matter of fact way, and an excellent book to read if you want to know who Kamala Harris is, what she’s about and what she’s likely to set out to achieve when she’s in office.

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Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris and Ana Ramírez González (illustrator)

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea is aimed at children aged 4 to 8 and written by Meena Harris, who, if you’ve read The Truths We Hold (above), you’ll already know is Kamala Harris’s niece. To be more specific, she’s the daughter of Kamala’s beloved younger sister, Maya. The book tells the story of the two sisters being determined to get a playground in the courtyard behind their house, and not taking no for an answer. The illustrations by Ana Ramírez González are absolutely stunning and it’s a lovely tale for young kids of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

Superheroes are Everywhere by Kamala Harris and Mechal Renee Roe (illustrator)

Superheroes are Everywhere by Kamala Harris is a version of her memoir aimed at 3-7 year olds. We meet her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who was not only an incredibly impressive biomedical researcher working on breast cancer, but also a superhero mother to her two girls. She writes: “See, Kamala, my mom would say, You can do anything if you put your heart in it and try hard, anything in the world”. After meeting the other superheroes in her life, she makes a list of ways you, too, can become a superhero. Apparently, “it’s easier than you think.”

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes and Laura Freeman (illustrator)

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice is a biography of Kamala aimed at 4-8 year olds. We don’t learn anything substantially new (her name means ‘Lotus Flower’; when she was being cranky once as a toddler and her mother asked her what she wanted, she answered “freedom”), but it’s beautifully done. It also opens with the notion that Kamala Harris wants to be president one day, and that other girls too, can aspire to be president. As we now know, this really is no longer beyond the realms of possibility.

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey (Young Readers Edition) by Kamala Harris

This version of Kamala Harris’s memoir is aimed at kids aged 12-15. It’s very similar in content and style to the adult version, but shorter. This might be the best book to read if you want to read Kamala Harris’s own version of the story of her life in a couple of hours.

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Five Books

Five Books is an expert book recommendation website based in Oxford. The CEO is Juliet Frost, the editor is Sophie Roell and the deputy editor is Cal Flyn. Benedict King is a contributing editor also based at HQ. Further afield, Eve Gerber is our US editor, Romas Viesualas our art editor and Nigel Warburton our philosophy editor. Dan Schoeffler is our adviser and Al Breach our financial backer.

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Five Books

Five Books

Five Books is an expert book recommendation website based in Oxford. The CEO is Juliet Frost, the editor is Sophie Roell and the deputy editor is Cal Flyn. Benedict King is a contributing editor also based at HQ. Further afield, Eve Gerber is our US editor, Romas Viesualas our art editor and Nigel Warburton our philosophy editor. Dan Schoeffler is our adviser and Al Breach our financial backer.