Get PolitiFact in your inbox.
If Your Time is short
- Officials say that a single copy of a 2019 children’s book written by the vice president was donated as part of a book and toy drive in Long Beach, Calif., where migrant children are temporarily staying in a shelter.
On April 23, the New York Post reported that migrant children routed from the U.S.-Mexico border to a shelter in Long Beach, Calif., will be given a copy of Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2019 children’s book called "Superheroes are Everywhere."
The story, which ran on the Post’s cover the next day, didn’t cite a source; it just showed a Reuters photo of a cot that had a copy of the book on it. On April 27, the story link no longer worked and redirected readers to the Post’s homepage. Later that day, a revised version of the story was again on the Post’s website with an editor’s note that said "the original version of this article said migrant kids were getting Harris’ book in a welcome kit, but has been updated to note that only one known copy of the book was given to a child."
Laura Italiano, the reporter who wrote the article, also resigned, saying that she was "ordered to write" an incorrect story and that she "failed to push back hard enough."
But claims about the book continue to spread online.
"So the Biden administration is buying Kamala Harris’ book with our taxpayer money," read one Facebook post that shared the Post cover. "Seems to be a conflict of interest. Who’s okay with Vice President Harris making money off this situation?"
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We reached out to the White House and the city of Long Beach, which is temporarily hosting migrant children who are staying at an U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelter there.
Kevin Lee, a spokesperson for the city, told PolitiFact that a copy of Harris’ book was donated as part of a citywide book and toy drive organized by the city of Long Beach and its convention and visitors bureau to support the children.
"The single book you reference is one of hundreds of various books that have already been donated," Lee said, adding that it wasn’t purchased by Long Beach or the federal government.
On April 25, the convention and visitors bureau tweeted that "the Long Beach community is rallying around the book and toy drive for migrant youth" and thanked "the many donors who have dropped off new toys and books."
A website for the toy and book drive says that the city is accepting English and Spanish language books suitable for infants to young adults.
Sabrina Singh, a White House spokesperson for Harris, told us that "the office of the vice president was not aware that her children’s book was donated."
We’ve found nothing credible to suggest otherwise, and no evidence that there is a campaign to give every child a copy of the vice president’s book on the taxpayer’s dime.
As the Washington Post reported in its fact-check of Sen. Tom Cotton and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel — both of whom echoed claims that Harris was profiting off a surge of immigrants at taxpayer expense — "this is a good example of how misinformation spreads on right-wing media and gets amplified by Republican leaders."
We rate this claim False.
Update, April 28, 2021: This story has been updated to include additional information about the New York Post story. The rating is unchanged.
Facebook post, April 25, 2021
New York Post, Kamala isn’t at the southern border — but migrant kids are getting Veep’s book, April 23, 2021
Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau tweet, April 25, 2021
Long Beach Toy & Book Drive website, visited April 27, 2021
Email interview with Kevin Lee, chief public affairs officer, City of Long Beach, April 27, 2021
Email interview with Sabrina Singh, White House deputy press secretary, April 27, 2021
Laura Italiano tweet, April 27, 2021
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.