Hair With Flair written by Audrey O. Hinds, illustrated by Hatice Bayramgolu
From GoodReads: Samantha’s big day had finally arrived. It was time to wow her audience with the best art they had ever seen. It was an exciting time for her to show all the people she loved how hard she had been working to impress them with the gift of her art. She had thought of everything right down to her nail polish, but in all the chaos leading up to her big show she forgot one very important detail – her hair.
As her art show begins, Samantha realizes her hair is completely untamable, but the show must go on, right? As the story goes on, Samantha finally embraces what the rest of the world had already seen, her most magnificent artwork of all – her hair with flair!
So I’m going to preface this with, I read Hair With Flair to my almost eight year old and she really enjoyed it. As a kid whose hair looks like a rat might be living in it and for better or worse as she becomes more aware of her appearance, she can relate to having hair that can suddenly feel less than perfect.
Hair With Flair is a really cute story about Samantha who has organized an art show for her friends. She has set up her room with her drawings and paintings, set a time, sent invites, and is now waiting for everyone to show up. Except something in the back of her mind is keeps telling her she’s forgotten something. As her guests start trickling in she realizes she has forgotten to style her hair. Uncomfortable at first, Samantha realizes her hair is beautiful exactly as it comes out of her head and that it is an artistic expression of who she is. We loved that Samantha took great pride in both her art and herself and that her friends celebrated who she was and her artistic accomplishments. It’s an all around lovely story of pride in yourself and your work celebrated by your friends.
Something about the illustrations, maybe the colors or the setting, reminds me of the Lego Friends sets. One of those characters is an artist and creator. If you have kids in your class or library or home that love Lego Friends, give this book a try. The bright colors and fun story would make this a good title to read aloud at storytime.
Going back to what I prefaced this review with, as a white parent reading this book I felt a little odd about the focus on appearance over the content of the art show. But I recognize that this is my daughter’s privilege to be able to go out in public and be a mess and no one looks askance at her. She’s just a hippie child, nothing more. I know that hair is a huge deal for black folks (kids and adults alike). I mean, for Pete’s sake, we just had a law passed in 2019 that “allows” Black folks hair to grow out of their heads as it does naturally. So the fact that Samantha is worried about her hair and then comes to embrace it is HUGE. It also means that while the book can be enjoyed by white kids and families, it’s not necessarily meant for us.
Pair this with Melanin Origins phenomenal Barber Chop and their biography Louisiana Belle: A Snippet in the Life of Madam CJ Walker. As far as stocking this on your shelves, in libraries and classrooms and homes, hair and hair care is frequently a big deal with kids of all kinds and Hair With Flair should absolutely be added to collections that have books on grooming (fiction and nonfiction). If you have fashionistas in your audience, you should also make sure you purchase this title. And if you have any kids of color that need their hair and their appearance validated, absolutely be sure to include this book on your shelves. Until we don’t have to pass absurd laws about Black folks hair, we need all the books about celebrating and embracing Black kids hair that we can get.
Disclosure: I was sent a review copy by the publisher, Melanin Origins, in exchange for an honest review.
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Final note: If you do purchase this book, please post a review of it on Amazon. This will help other folks find the book and know that it’s worth purchasing. If you use any other book services like GoodReads or your local library’s online catalog be sure to post a review there too! And if your local library doesn’t have a copy, request that they purchase one.