Traditional Thursdays: I Love My Hair!

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I Love My Hair, written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and illustrated by E.B. Lewis is a beautiful book about embracing one’s natural hair and beauty and is especially poignant for young Black girls who may need reassurance that their hair is magnificent in a society that does not always show this. The story inspires confidence in young girls through the beautiful illustrations, the connection of hair to nature and natural beauty, and the relatable content.

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The writing style of the book is perfect because it is from the POV of a young black girl getting her hair done and her Mama is telling her how she should celebrate her hair because she can change it any way she wants to and it is a part of their heritage. Mama continues to instill confidence in the girl, Keyana, as she explains the significance of certain hairstyle to her identity. The story, with Mama combing Keyana’s hair as she sits in her lap while they talk together, is one that many young Black girls would be able to connect to as they think about their own mother’s combing their hair. This book and the way it tells the story is truly a mirror for young Black girls and it is also a lens for young children of other ethnicities to see what other hair types look like and that they are beautiful like their hair (which may be more overtly celebrated in society). The writing in this story is meant to instill pride at a young age in Black girls about their natural beauty.

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The beautiful watercolor illustrations make it so Keyana’s hair is almost a character of its own, becoming the rows of seeds, the globe around her head, etc. The illustrations showcase the beautiful brown skin of the characters and again emphasizes the fact that this book is the perfect mirror for Black girls. The illustrations showcase the expressions of the characters, but also the pure joy and power of them. Most of the illustrations span across both pages so that the reader is really brought into the bright illustrations and can take every detail in, with the text integrated well. The illustrations also do a great job conveying the meaning of the text for younger readers.

I Love My Hair! is a beauty self-empowerment for young Black girls that instills confidence and pride in them about their hair and heritage. Young children will enjoy the story from Keyana’s POV and the colorful watercolor illustrations. This book is very special to me because my second grade teacher gave it to me and my sister as a present and it was the first time I had seen a little girl who looked like me as the star of a book. I related to the way her mother combed her hair like my mother did and it made me appreciate my hair more.

Posted by Ashanti Charles

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