Published by Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Summary: The Democratic nominees for President and Vice President are profiled in these two picture books. Each one traces the candidate’s life from childhood, emphasizing their hard work, integrity, and quest for justice. Biden’s is a straightforward account of his life, while Harris’s is narrated by a mother to her young daughter who has been told that girls can’t grow up to be President. Published before she was chosen as Biden’s running mate, Harris’s story ends with her dropping out of the primary. Joey includes photos, sources for quotations, a timeline, a bibliography, and a list of “Bidenisms”; Kamala Harris includes a timeline and list of sources. 48 pp. and 40 pp.; grades K-5.
Pros: These books may come in handy as November 3 approaches and students are looking for more information on the candidates (I did try, in the interest of being nonpartisan, to find Trump and Pence picture book biographies, but was unsuccessful). Readers will get ample biographical information, as well as some insights into both Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’s characters.
Cons: One might expect a book written by the candidate’s wife (Biden) to read like a piece of campaign literature, and one would be right. I wish the editors had worked a little harder to tone down the fawning rhetoric, letting Biden’s life speak for itself. Also, the device of having the mother tell her daughter the story of Harris’s life seemed unnecessary, particularly the last page, where the girl tells her mother she’s going to call the kid who said she can’t be President a doofus.