Some kids grow up not liking their hair, right? These books might help change that — particularly for African-American kids. It’s both representation and affirmation.
You’ll also read a cautionary tale about NOT combing your hair as well as a funny story about copying other people’s hairstyles.
Comment below if you have any favorites or additional titles to suggest.
Picture Books That Celebrate Hair
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Zuri’s daddy helps her see how her hair lets her be her unique self. Like when she wears her hair in braids with beads, she is a princess, or when she wears it in two puffs, she’s a superhero. One day, Zuri decides to do her hair herself. Daddy helps her learn. But it’s pretty tricky at first but then Daddy gives Zuri the perfect supergirl style. I LOVE so much about this book — the celebration of culture, the dad with long hair and a tattoo, and that a dad that does his daughter’s hair.
Hair / Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros
I used this enchanting bilingual book in the classroom frequently to teach descriptive writing because of its rich, sensory writing celebrating the many different kinds of hair in this little girl’s family.
Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
Aria loves her hair but doesn’t love when people touch it. She hides in all sorts of fantastical places — a castle, outer space, underwater. Soon, Aria gets lonely and goes home. The next time someone touches her hair, she says, “Don’t touch my hair.” When people ask, Aria feels comfortable saying either no or yes. What a beautiful book to help children learn about respectful boundaries.
Crown An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James
Sitting on the barber’s chair, a young boy reflects on how he’ll leave and feel like royalty. Not to mention, people will take notice of his fresh cut — his teachers, his mom, and the girls in his class. Because he’ll be looking good. The author transports readers into this boy’s shoes as he celebrates his cool cut, the men around him on the chair, and the barber who cuts his hair. Rhythmic, vibrant words plus bold, oil painting illustrations give this barbershop experience a swagger of its own.
Hair Twins by Raakhee Mirchandani, illustrated by Holly Hatam
The loving little girl’s Papa combs her hair every morning. Sometimes he braids it. Sometimes he puts it in a top bun just like the joora he wears under his turban. “Hair cheers!” the little girl tells her Papa, her hair twin. After school, Papa takes her hair down. Then, they have dance parties and go to the park where they play with friends. Sikh representation and a sweet father-daughter relationship story!
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
I love this joyful celebration of the many styles, textures, and shapes of black hair! These princesses have dreadlocks, kinks, head wraps, curls, and bantu knots. “Princesses with AFROS do-si-do. // Princesses with BRAIDS throw parades.” All the princesses love their hair. We can see it in the exuberant illustrations of playful, happy little girls.
My Fade is Fresh by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Kitt Thomas
A little girl walks into a barbershop with A LOT of ideas — she listens to everyone’s many cool ideas but the barber isn’t cutting enough. After much discussion and trial and error, eventually, the girl gets the haircut that she wanted all along. This book reminds me of how adults (parents, myself included) always have so many “helpful” suggestions that aren’t necessarily helpful to the child and could bully them into choosing what we want, not what they want.
Wanda by Shile Nontshokweni and Mathabo Tlali, illustrated by Chantelle and Burgen Thorne
Wanda leaves home with one hairstyle but changes it before school so her teacher will think she’s tidy. Then, one day, she doesn’t have time to redo her hair and Wanda’s grandma helps her find pride in her hair, her her crown, and she stands up to the teacher and her classmates with new confidence and pride in her appearance. I love how it teaches kids that sometimes they have to stand up to authority figures.
Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munch
SO FUNNY! No matter how Stephanie wears her ponytail, even in increasingly weird styles, the entire class and her teacher copy her. What will she do to make it stop? This wise message reminds us of the perils of copying trends--because you just might end up bald!
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair by Kate Bernheimer, illustrated by Jake Parker
Do you know a child who needs a cautionary tale like this one? Because this is what will happen (maybe) if you don’t comb your hair. Once upon a time, after many days of not brushing her hair, a little girl’s hair is so messy that mice build a mouse palace in her hair…
Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Geneva Bowers
This girl has magic hair with personality which imbues her with strength, no matter what the style! Sometimes it’s mischievous and turns and coils, moving like a million ocean currents. “Braided, it dangles gently around my face like long vines tumbling from a garden trellis–woven tightly, swaying loosely, flexible, but unbreakable. My hair is strong like that.” I love the writing that exemplifies figurative language with similes, personification, and sensory images.
I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia
Keyana’s mom combs her hair every night before bed. Sometimes the tangles hurt. When it does, her mom tells her how beautiful her hair is and together they think of all the great things about her hair. I love how this book celebrates all things about Keyana’s hair!
My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Caberera
This sweet story is about accepting your unique beauty just like the plants in a garden who are unique, beautiful, and require cultivation, too. “My hair is a garden. And like every good garden, it must be/cared for, every day.” Back matter explains more on how to care for black hair.
I Love My Haircut by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
At first, Miles is afraid of getting his hair cut because he’s worried it will hurt. The community at the barber including his dad, help him be brave.
Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates
This book will help black kids celebrate their hair! Lots of hairstyles and affirmations show kids they are not alone — and that they are beautiful!
I Love My Hair Coloring Book by Andrea Pippins
Gorgeous hair-themed artwork waits for your coloring pens and pencils.
You Might Also Like:
Picture Books About Prejudice, Inclusion, and Tolerance