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I am a ’90s baby through and through. I grew up when it was commonplace for your grandmothers to place the hot comb on the stove on Saturday night … to make sure your hair was pressed for church Sunday morning. Getting my first relaxer in elementary school was a rite of passage, and I was SO excited when my mom let me get one before my older cousin. In the ’90s having thick, natural hair was considered having “nappy hair” and seen as unmanageable, so we did not manage.
I was well into my 20s when I decided to go natural. And after having my first son I reverted back to the idea that having natural hair was “too hard” so back to relaxer I went. Finally, in my 30s, I’ve learned to love and care for my hair in its completely natural state. And when I learned I was pregnant with my third child, a baby girl … I knew that I wanted her to love herself and her natural hair completely as well.
It has been proven time and time again that a lack of representation in the media can lead to negative effects on children. And while the Lupita Nyong’os of our time are definitely more represented in the media, there is undoubtedly still a lack of diversity in children’s programming. My daughter just turned one year old and I, as her mother, as a Black woman, want to ensure that she sees an accurate representation of herself in the books and shows that she consumes. I’m on a mission to make sure she loves her natural hair, and so I intentionally look for books that celebrate hair in all forms. These are some of our absolute favorites.
I’m Growing Great by Mechal Renee Roe
Beautiful Black and Brown girls with gorgeous natural hairstyles full of flowers, butterflies, and other garden treasures are the stars of this vibrant, rhythmic picture book from the author/illustrator of Happy Hair and Cool Cuts. Set in a backdrop of nature’s glorious color and bounty, it’s the perfect springtime read-aloud to promote confidence and self-esteem for girls of all ages.
Hair Love by Matthew Cherry
Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.
Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair — and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere. A perfect gift for special occasions including Father’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, and more!
Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe
Girls will love seeing strong, happy reflections of themselves in this vibrant, rhythmic book full of beautiful Black hairstyles. From a cute crop to pom-pom puffs, adorable illustrations of girls with gorgeous braids, blowouts, and bantus grace each page, side by side with a positive message that will make girls cheer. It’s a great read-aloud to promote self-esteem for girls of all ages, building and growing the foundation of self-love (and hair love!) and letting every girl know “You are made beautiful!”
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
Celebrate different hair shapes, textures, and styles in this self-affirming picture book! From dreadlocks to blowouts to braids, Princess Hair shines a spotlight on the beauty and diversity of Black hair, showing young readers that every kind of hair is princess hair.
Hair Like Mine by LaTashia M. Perry
Hair Like Mine is the first book in the Kids Like Mine Series. It is a fun and easy read following a little girl who doesn’t like that her naturally curly hair looks different from the other kids around her. On her quest to find someone with hair like hers, she soon realizes we are all unique and special in our own way.
My Hair is Magic by M.L. Marroquin
This little girl knows her hair is great just as it is. When people ask, “Why is your hair so BIG?” she answers, “Why isn’t yours?” Her hair is soft, it protects her, it’s both gentle and fierce. While some might worry about how it’s different and try to contain it, she gives it the freedom to be so extraordinary it almost has a life of its own.
Told in bold verse and vivid, fantastical illustrations, these critical questions will ring familiar, and the proud, confident answers show that what really matters is how readers see themselves.
Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller
It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she’s chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens … until, finally, Aria has had enough!
Author-illustrator Sharee Miller takes the tradition of appreciation of Black hair to a new, fresh, level as she doesn’t seek to convince or remind young readers that their curls are beautiful — she simply acknowledges Black beauty while telling a fun, imaginative story.
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