The Hair Book (LaTonya Yvette & Amanda Jane Jones)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Hair Book by LaTonya Yvette and Amanda Jane Jones, a sweet and simple book about diversity and inclusivity.

People can have all different types of hair! They can have long hair, short hair, wavy hair and poufy hair. They can have mustache hair or beard hair (or monster hair!). People can choose to cover their hair with a hijab or a kippah. Some wear their hair in afros or cornrows, pull it back or leave it loose. And some people have no hair at all. But no matter your hair, how you choose to style it, or what you wear on top of it, “you are welcome… everywhere.”

Lovely! This simple and colorful look at diversity in hair types, hairstyles, and religious headwear sends the important message that all hair and headwear – and by extension, all cultural affiliations thereof – are valid and beautiful. Yvette and Jones use basic text and saturated, high-contrast artwork to show the diversity of hair. This works very well most of the time, though it might have been nice to get a better feel for curlier/more coily textures (like an afro) with an art style that allowed for slightly more detail. The length is perfect for even the very youngest of baby bookworms, and JJ really enjoyed the art and easy-to-read text (and especially the “monster hair” page. Overall, a great way to explore diversity and promote inclusivity for little ones, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

My Hair Is A Garden (Cozbi A. Cabrera)

Hello, friends! Our book today is My Hair Is A Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera, a lovely and empowering ode to black hair.

Mackenzie has always loved Miss Tillie’s home – a sanctuary as warm and inviting as the woman who inhabits it. So when Mack is humiliated once again for her short, unruly hair, she runs to Miss Tillie for a cry. Mack’s hair has always been especially hard to style – even her own mother doesn’t know what to do with it. Miss Tillie listens sagely, then agrees to teach Mack how to care for her hair. Excited, Mack asks if her hair will one day look like Miss Tillie’s smooth, elaborate style. But using her lush and lovingly-maintained garden as a metaphor, Tillie shows Mack that the style of the hair is not what matters, but that her hair is healthy, well cared-for and, most importantly, loved.

Absolutely. Fantastic. As many women of color can attest, the struggle of having “good hair” – and the social and body-image connotations therewith – starts early on. It’s what makes a book like this so vital: not only does Cabrera give practical tips on caring for black hair (including instructions and recipes in the backmatter), but also provides a affirming encouragement for young girls of color to love and take pride in their hair. This tone is further explored in the gorgeous illustrations that give rich, emotional connections to the text: a vignette of a boy dumping sand in Mack’s hair is heartbreaking, inside covers depicting girls of various skintones and hairstyles are heartwarming, and the cover/inner illustration of Mack’s hair growing healthy, natural, and strong is spellbinding. The length is great and JJ really enjoyed it. A beautiful read for any little bookworm, but a must-read for young girls of color, who will feel seen and celebrated. Baby Bookworm approved!