#ReadIntl2020 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Otherworldly Realms - Fantasia Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Celebrating The Beauty Of One’s Hair in 2019 Picturebooks

"Happy Hair" by Mechal Renee Roe | "Hair Love" by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

I’ve had my eye on these two picturebooks for awhile now – and while it does not technically fit into our fantasy theme, the way that hair is celebrated fantastically here deserves sharing.

Happy Hair [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written and Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe
Published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers (2019)
ISBN: 1984895540 (ISBN13: 9781984895547). Borrowed through Singapore NLB Overdrive. Book photos taken by me. 

This picturebook, dedicated to “every girl who has ever doubted her beauty, her strength, and her courageous spirit” is like a catalogue of different styles of hair styles for dark-skinned beauties.

Among my favourites are the following:

This one is pretty much my teenage daughter’s preferred style – not that she wears headbands, because she doesn’t – but the entire “Wash-N-Go” philosophy: no fuss, no frills, or more likely than not, no patience to really style her hair.

Another favourite is this one:

I am in awe with young women who are able to sinuously wrap their hair with colourful scarves in such an aesthetically pleasing manner. I wish I could do something similar. And lastly:

This glorious buzz of hair is gorgeous. If there was one peeve that I have about the book, it is quite similar to my observation of Vashti Harrison’s Little Dreamers series (see my reviews here and here) – as I would rather that the girls are wide-eyed and boldly facing the reader with pride, rather than have their eyes lowered in what may be construed as modesty, or submission or meekness. Regardless, it is an empowering picturebook that young ones would most likely enjoy.

For more hair care, I suggest the readers also check out this picturebook – click on the image to be taken to my review of the book.

My Hair Is A Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera (Amazon | Book Depository)

Hair Love [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Matthew A. Cherry Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Published by Kokila (2019)
ISBN: 0525553363 (ISBN13: 9780525553366). Literary Award: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books (2019). Borrowed through Singapore NLB Overdrive. Book photos taken by me. 

I have featured quite a number of daddy stories previously (see here) but they are mostly father and son, rather than father and daughter with hair love thrown into the picture.

Zuri is eager to begin her day, and she wants to look her absolute best. But for that she needs daddy’s help – to tame, comb, and style her hair.

It appears, though, that our afro-haired and tattooed buff Daddy has little practice when it comes to fixing little girls’ hair as you can see below:

When I first read the story, I had a different reading of why this is such an important day for Zuri. I didn’t realize that there was also another layer to this narrative that will only be made clearer by watching the Oscar-nominated short film that I am also including here. Needless to say, the story caught me sideways. Zuri is now one of my favourite girls in picturebooks. Enjoy the short video clip!

And here is more from author Matthew A. Cherry, former NFL player, and why he wrote this story – and Vashti Harrison’s take on the story. Beautiful.

#ReadIntl2020 Update: Both books are written and illustrated by people of colour.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

9 comments on “[Monday Reading] Celebrating The Beauty Of One’s Hair in 2019 Picturebooks

  1. Augusta Scattergood

    This is a great post! One of my favorite books to celebrate hair is Irene Latham and Charles Waters’s truly wonderful picture book CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? I love all their collaborations — this may have been their first. Thanks for sharing today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to see a picture book like this. I’ve read about some shocking incidents where little girls were sent home for wearing their hair in various after styles. This is a picture book that should be in every school library.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Myra. I had seen the Hair love film, but liked the second one with the author and illustrator talking about their work too. I hadn’t noticed the closed eyes in the girls’ eyes until you pointed it out, but I get your point – especially in contrast with Hair Love.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t know there were many books about hair – so great. I am on the hold list for Hair Love, & there are many who want it! Thanks, Myra

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah Sammis

    Both books are on my wishlist. My weekly update

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I adored Hair Love and the short! And now I’m going to have to hunt down Hair Love. Thanks for these lovely shares, Myra, and I hope you have a wonderful reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sprinkles

    You’re one of the few bloggers who has connected the dots with these works. Pretty good observations. You may find out more if you watch the other authors videos/articles on the topics. Especially dates of creation. 🙂 Anyway, lovely article

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Finding Joy and Making Happy in 2022 Picturebooks – Gathering Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: