Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Celebrating Hair with Hannah Lee and Allen Fatimaharan

My Hair, by Hannah Lee/Illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan, (Sept. 2019, Faber & Faber), $16.95, ISBN: 9780571346868

Ages 4-7

A little girl has a birthday coming up, and wants a new hairstyle to debut. What should she get? This rhyming story follows a girl of color as she explores different hairstyles, observing friends, family, and the ladies at the salon. She mulls over dreadlocks, fades, braids, close-cropped, and wraps and turbans before finally listening to her mother and going with her natural, beautiful afro.

This acclamation of black hair and culture is such a joy to read. The rhyming text is fun and works beautifully with the images: earth-toned, bold, expressive characters and settings abound, and the personality of the images pops off the page. There are pets throughout the story, many sporting dramatic hairstyles (fur styles?) that match their humans. The young girl uses positive, lively words to run through styles she knows: her mother’s dreadlocks are “dazzling”; her uncle’s waves “swirl all over his head”; her aunt’s close-shaved hair is “like the head of a lioness”, and her grandmother “found one [grey hair] years ago and invited them all to stay”.

A positive, upbeat book about hair and community, and a smart add to your picture book collections.

A side note – if you haven’t had a chance to read or see the animated short for Mathew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison’s Hair Love yet, please get the book or see the short (it’s running before Angry Birds 2; I hope other kids’ movies pick it up).