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Kamala and Maya's Big Idea by Meena Harris

Updated: 3 days ago

PICTURE BOOK READING GUIDE

GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+


WELCOME

This is a reading guide designed to accompany Meena Harris and Ana Ramírez González’s picture book Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea. We recommend that grownups read the focus book and the reading guide content BEFORE reading with young readers. This guide will help you prepare your own questions for your young readers and choose vocabulary, history, and other related topics to integrate into your learning and discussion.


Reading guide ontent was written and edited by Zapoura Newton-Calvert and was designed to start or deepen anti-racist and anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.


THEMES

  • Activism

  • Community

  • Justice

  • Action

  • 😊✊

WATCH THE READ ALOUD

SUMMARY + NOTE

Sisters Maya and Kamala have a big idea. And when they get a “no” to the idea of a building a playground for their apartment complex, they don’t give up. They talk with other kids and write their landlord a letter. When the landlord says that he can’t fund their project but will agree to it if the community can make it happen, the girls get to work. Together, the community shares their skills with everyone contributing a little. This is a story about turning “maybe” and “no”into “yes.”


This story showcases the power of community organizing as a mechanism for change. We also see the way people in positions of power (represented by the landlord in this story) can be obstacles to change and some strategies to move forward in spite of the barriers we may face.


OBJECTIVES

This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist reading and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.


The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


TEACHING TOLERANCE STANDARDS REFERENCED

The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades K-2. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Standards and Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:


  • Radical Imagination:“Radical: forming the root. Imagination: the force that creates seeds of emergence”

  • Justice Standard Domain #12: I know when people are treated unfairly.

  • Justice Standard Domain #15: I know about people who helped stop unfairness and worked to make life better for many people.

  • Action Standard, Domain #17: I can and will do something when I see unfairness -- this includes telling an adult.

  • Action Standard, Domain #20: I will join with classmates to make our classroom fair for everyone.

READ + DISCUSS QUESTIONS

BEFORE READING

  • What is a big idea? How is it different than a small idea? RADICAL IMAGINATION

  • Look at the front cover of the book. What emotions do you see? What kinds of actions do you see? Who are the characters? What makes you curious? RADICAL IMAGINATION

  • Look at the back cover of the book. What emotions do you see? What kinds of actions do you see? Who is in the picture? What makes you curious? RADICAL IMAGINATION

WHILE READING

  • Why do you think Maya and Kamala get a big idea about making a playground where they live? RADICAL IMAGINATION

  • At the beginning of the story, Maya and Kamala do not have a playground where they live. What do you think about that? Do you have access to a playground where you live? How does this make you feel? JUSTICE DOMAIN #1

  • When Maya and Kamala get their big idea, who do they talk to first and why? Who would you talk to first about your own big idea? ACTION DOMAIN #17

  • After their landlord says no to their idea, what do Kamala and Maya do next and why? ACTION DOMAIN #17

  • Who are the people that make Maya and Kamala’s big idea happen in the end? Can you name them all? ACTION DOMAIN #20

  • What kind of help did people give to make Maya and Kamala’s big idea come to life? What are the big and small skills, abilities, and resources that their neighbors contributed? What are some of your big or small superpowers, skills, or abilities that you could contribute to a project like this? How would you help? ACTION DOMAIN #20

  • Kamala and Maya are community leaders. What ideas do you have about what characteristic, identities, and actions make a leader? What leadership qualities do you have? How do you want to use them? RADICAL IMAGINATION


RESOURCES & ACTIVITIES

These are optional resources that can extend your learning started in the focus book. Take some time to peruse, enjoy, imagine, and learn.


LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HARRIS FAMILY

ART AS ACTIVISM AND SIDEWALK CHALK ENGAGEMENT IDEAS

HOW TO BE PART OF CHANGE

READ NEXT

  • AMBITIOUS GIRL by Meena Harris and Marissa Valdez

  • HEY, WALL by Susan Verde and John Parra

  • COUNTING ON COMMUNITY by Innosanto Nagara

DOWNLOAD THE READING GUIDE


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