Every child should love themselves from head to toe, including Black and brown children with natural, textured hair! What better way to instill positive self-esteem than with a picture book? Tailored for readers ages 3 to 8, the books below highlight the beauty and versatility of natural Black and textured hair. They are must-haves for Black children, but they are also deserving of a space on every child’s bookshelf. By depicting strong protagonists of color that are proud to rock their natural hair, these books show readers of all backgrounds that diverse hair textures and styles are beautiful.
Recent stories surrounding hair discrimination have been equally heartbreaking and enraging. From barring a student from graduating for refusing to cut his dreadlocks, to video of a high school referee cutting a wrestler’s dreadlocks or else he’d be forced to forfeit, hair discrimination is unfortunately all too prevalent. Did you know…
Currently, it is legal to discriminate against a person in the workplace or in schools because of their natural or protective hairstyle in all states except for California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, and Maryland. Hair discrimination remains a source of racial injustice with serious economic consequences for Black people. The CROWN Act corrects these racial injustices by making hair discrimination illegal. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted and passed the CROWN ACT, and next stop is the Senate.
The CROWN Coalition (Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law & Poverty) believes natural hairstyles should be celebrated, not discouraged. For this reason, they are committed to Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair.
According to a 2019 research study:
- Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair
- Black women are 83% more likely to report being judged more harshly on her looks than other women
- Black women’s hair is 3.4x more likely to be perceived as “unprofessional”
If you’d like to help end hair discrimination in the workplace and schools, we encourage you sign the petition to get the Crown Act passed across the country. Furthermore, by purchasing any of the books below, you are helping to promote inclusivity and celebrate diversity!
Note: Three of the titles also come in a board board edition for ages 0 to 3.
Stella’s Stellar Hair Written & Illustrated by Yesenia Moises (2021)
Afro-Latina, author-illustrator Yesenia Moises brings us a celebration of Black and brown hair, set in outer space! This truly innovative tale, with its spectacular illustrations, are sure to make this an instant favorite!
Bedtime Bonnet By Nancy Redd, Illustrated by Nneka Myers (2020)
Bedtime Bonnet is a joyous and loving celebration of family, and is the first-ever picture book to highlight Black nighttime hair traditions. It’s perfect for little Black girls, but also simply a fun, multi-generational story that all children can enjoy.
The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair: The Girl with the Curl By Christopher Garcia-Halenar & Alejandro Garcia-Halenar, Illustrated by Sophia Jin (2018)
The perfect book to encourage self-love, this story follows a young girl with beautiful, big curls and her canine best friend, Duke, as they choose their daily adventures based on her choice of hairstyle for the day. A fun and imaginative read!
Cool Cuts Written & Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe (2020)
Highlighting a diverse array of hairstyles, fashion, and brown skin tones, Cool Cuts is a vibrant and joyous book full of positive affirmations for young Black and brown boys. (Board book edition also available!)
Happy Hair Written & Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe (2019)
Highlighting a diverse array of hairstyles, fashion, and brown skin tones, Cool Cuts is a vibrant and joyous book full of positive affirmations for young Black and brown girls. (Board book edition also available!)
Hair Love Written by Matthew A. Cherry, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison (2019)
An adaptation of Matthew A. Cherry’s Academy Award-winning short film, Hair Love, this is a heartwarming celebration of fatherhood. Young Zuri’s dad learns the value of trial-and-error after he’s tasked with styling his daughter’s hair.
Don’t Touch My Hair! Written & Illustrated by Sharee Miller (2018)
Aria loves her hair, but she does not love it when strangers try to touch her hair, especially without asking. This is a story about personal boundaries, and a perfect resource to teach the importance of asking permission first. (Board book edition also available!)
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut By Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Gordon C. James (2017)
This award-winning book is an ode to the Black barbershop, one of the few places where Black boys and men are treated like royalty!
Love Your Hair! Written by Phoenyx Austin, M.D., Illustrated by Tracy Austin (2015)
Love Your Hair! follows a young girl who exudes confidence and self-love as she goes about her day while rocking her natural locks.