When I was a child, my early Sunday morning routine would start with my mother digging under the counter for the wash day supplies. She'd then bend six-year-old me over the sink to wash all the grass, dirt and outside adventures from my hair. The tender hair love and care starts at a young age for many Black girls and boys. Thankfully more authors are writing picture books with leading Black characters of various complexions and hair textures. Here’s a list of 26 beautiful, natural hair-inspired children’s books that are changing the way kids — and even adults — view their hair.
1. The Curly Hair Club by Saccheen Laing
The Curly Hair Club centers around the main character Carly, who struggles to love her natural hair. In this colorful story, a young girl eventually overcomes self-doubt and teaches other girls how to love their own natural hair, too.
2. Naturally Me by Crystal Swain-Bates
Naturally Me is about celebrating kids’ unique differences. Author Crystal Swain-Bates wrote the book hoping it would boost children’s self-esteem and build confidence, via the affirming mantra, ”I'm proud to be naturally me!"
3. Wash Day by T.B Darks
In Wash Day, main character Nina takes the reader on an adventure through her wash day hair journey. From the natural hair care process to the products and detangling, Nina teaches young girls everywhere about how to maintain and love their natural hair.
4. Hair Love by Mathew A. Cherry
Hair Love is a beautifully drawn picture book that highlights the relationship between a father and his daughter Zuri. Written for children of all ages, readers are shown the love between Zuri and her dad, as he styles her hair for a super special occasion. We also see the lengths Zuri’s dad takes to learn how to style his daughter’s hair and make her happy.
5. Curls In Color: A Natural Hair Coloring Book by Patrica Keller
A coloring book that is a great stress reliever for adults and a fun activity for kids, Curls in Color is for all ages. It celebrates all the different hairstyles Black children and women wear. Each page has everything from curls, locs, coils, braids, twists and giant fros.
6. Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
????????????Happy Book Birthday ????????????
— BCBA (@BCBooksAuthors) October 31, 2017
Princess Hair praises different shapes, textures and styles of Black hair. From dreadlocks, to blowouts, to kids wearing satin caps to bows, Black hairstyles and the possibilities are endless. The book celebrates the glamour and diversity of Black hair with energetic pictures, making this a great bedtime or daytime read.
7. Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair by Tina Olajide
— SuperheroesInColor (@HeroesInColor00) September 23, 2016
The main character Emi shares hair positive messages about her “curly, coily, cotton candy hair,” particularly what she likes most about it. The cheerful and bright illustrations bring the story to life. Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair even teaches children basic natural hair care techniques and tips.
8. I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
"Sweet, Sweet Memory" by Jacqueline Woodson Illustrations by Floyf Cooper pic.twitter.com/EAcP3KBPwH
— The Dinner Table Doc (@dinnertabledoc) July 8, 2016
I Love My Hair encourages Black children to take pride in their natural crowns, all while encouraging a positivity. Each night, young Keyana’s mother sits her down between her legs to comb her hair. Keyana doesn’t feel pleased to have her hair texture. Her mother teaches her the beauty and magic of her hair and all its versatility.
9. Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates
Big Hair, Don’t Care is another beautifully crafted picture book by Swain-Bates. The main character Lola has hair that seems to get in the way of her classmates’ view. Also, she’s not too great at hide and seek, since her friends can spot her big hair from every hiding place. Lola’s big hair makes her feel different, but different is not a bad thing. Lola’s story celebrates differences and is perfect for boys and girls.
10. I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
Mrs. Mendez teaching counselor guidance lesson to Plains Elementary. She read "I like myself!" By Karen Beaumont pic.twitter.com/jOOWar5I0B
— Plains ISD (@plains_isd) October 6, 2017
I Like Myself encourages kids to appreciate what makes them unique. Regardless of how big or “messy” one’s hair is, this harmonious picture book teaches young readers to love who they are inside and out.
11. Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron
Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron was my fav book as a Black girl. I didn’t develop a fondness for my nappy hair. After hearing me say “I want good hair” my parents bought me this book. They literally said, “Here’s some literature,” ha! That’s how you know you’re raised by educators pic.twitter.com/pXTHn8gXmL
— All Black Lives Matter (@HarrietTubelman) November 19, 2018
Beautifully written and illustrated, Nappy Hair is an animated tale about Brenda and what her parents and relatives call her "nappy hair." Her Uncle Mordecai compares her hair to snow. Brenda praises how she got her hair from God and shares that her ancestors had hair just as beautiful as hers, and she spreads these lessons at a family picnic.
12. Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe
Children’s author Mechal Renee Roe brings her kid’s book to life with catchy, upbeat words and vibrant colors. Happy Hair illustrates girls with braids, blowouts and bantu knots. Each page highlights a different hairstyle promoting “happy hair-esteem” and self-worth.
13. Same Difference by Calida Garcia Rawles
@StrahanAndSara We loved the segment with the Elm. School Principal, reading books ???? on line to the children! May I suggest a book?
Same Difference Book, by Calida Garcia Rawles #ChildrensBooks
— Carla Thomas (@Carla_Patra) March 22, 2019
Same Difference explores two young cousins, Lida and Lisa, who find themselves at odds with each other over their physical differences. With their grandmother’s help, they are able to embrace their differences and get past their own body and hair insecurities.
14. Hair Like Mine by LaTashia M. Perry
Hair Like Mine follows a young girl who doesn't like her natural, curly hair because she looks different than the other kids she sees. She sets off on a quest to find someone with hair like hers and discovers her hair isn’t that bad after all.
15. Me And My Hair by Lisa Hollis
Me And My Hair is an inspirational story that promotes love and self-acceptance for little girls. With this book, Hollis aims to help young girls to feel good about themselves and love their natural hair, too.
16. Don’t Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller
Today is the day. Don’t Touch My Hair is out today! I can’t wait for you all to read it. Much thanks to @modomodom @kheryncasey @LittleBrownYR for helping me get my book out into the world! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/fU29u4IBxK
— Sharee Miller (@coilyandcute) November 6, 2018
Don’t Touch My Hair is a saucy picture book for people of all ages. The main character Aria has people all over wanting to touch her big mane. Aria’s story takes the reader on a journey under the sea, through the jungle and even into space, all while teaching about fearlessness and boundaries, when it comes to hair.
17. Crown: An Ode To A Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
The barbershop is a safe space for young boys. Crown: An Ode To A Fresh Cut takes place inside a barbershop where a young boy learns what it means to be bold. It celebrates the joy and swagger that young boys and men feel after leaving the barbershop chair with a fresh new cut.
18. My Hair Is A Garden by Cozbi B. Cabrera
In My Hair Is A Garden, Mackenzie gets teased at school because of her hair. She finds mentorship in her neighbor Miss Tillie, who uses her beautiful garden in the backyard as a metaphor. Miss Tillie shows Mackenzie that maintaining healthy hair is not a chore, nor is it something to be ashamed of. Most importantly, Mackenzie learns that natural, Black hair is beautiful.
19. I Am Enough by Grace Byers
Keturah Bobo wrote a dazzling ode to loving who you are, while also teaching the importance of showing respect and being kind to others. I Am Enough is a lesson to young kids, and a reminder to adults that you are worthy and enough.
20. Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
Natasha Anastasia Tarpley’s story Bippity Bop Barbershop follows main character Miles on his first trip to the barbershop with his Pops. Miles at first is afraid of the sharp razors and shears. The reassurance from his Pops and the older gentleman calm him as he bravely sits through his first haircut while learning life lessons. Tarpley’s story is the perfect book to share with a young child before their first trip to the barbershop.
21. Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell
September 25, 1961: Happy birthday “Uncle Jed’s Barbershop” author James Ransome pic.twitter.com/Ks0nyjl22I
— BullardCommLibrary (@BullardLibrary) September 25, 2017
Set in the 1920s, this tale is about a man named Uncle Jed who travels all over the county to cut his customers’ hair. His dream is to own his own barbershop. Despite the Great Depression and family emergencies, Uncle Jed remains determined to make his dream come true.
22. Cornrows by Camille Yarbrough
Cornrows by Camille Yarbrough: a girl is told wonderful stories about her hair by her mom while having it cornrowed pic.twitter.com/gBkvemn8
— Girls2Greatness (@Girls2Greatness) February 9, 2013
Cornrows is a rhythmic tale about children's hair being braided into stylish plaits. Every design has a name and means something, in this charming masterpiece by Camille Yarbrough.
23. Crowning Glory by Joyce Carol Thomas
Crowning Glory is a poetry book that celebrates the beauty and distinction of Black hair. Joyce Thomas’ poems share the special traits about hair that is dreadlocked, braided, curled or worn free.
24. Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea by Joyce Carol Thomas
Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea is an award-winning poetry picture book that shares unique messages of self-love. The pictures all show beautiful warm colors and kids with various Black skin tones.
25. Ask Uncle Neil: Why Is My Hair Curly? by Neil Thompson
In Ask Uncle Neil: Why Is My Hair Curly? Anthony notices his hair is different from his classmates. He seeks answers from Uncle Neil, a scientist, who gladly exposes young Anthony to the scientific possibilities. Uncle Neil introduces young kids to all the wonders of STEM in a story that allows Black kids a chance to better understand the properties of their hair and what makes it truly unique.
26. The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair By Alejandro Garcia-Halenar And Christopher Garcia-Halenar
The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair: https://t.co/Q23RCtud19
The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair – The Girl with Curl was inspired by our beautiful niece Vivian – our very own Little Miss Crazy Hair. #BookBoost
— Next Book Place (@Nextbookplace) November 21, 2018
The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair follows a young girl’s week with her best friend, dog Duke. They venture out on colorful and wild journeys that dictate how she wears her beautiful, crazy hair.