• Helping Kids Rise

Hair Love (Book Review) + Natural Hair Styling Tips and Tools

Updated: Dec 6, 2019


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links

Hair Love written by Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison is a sweet story of a father-daughter bond with an empowering message of loving your hair, loving your style, and loving the joy you get from being free to express yourself. Disclosure: We were provided a copy of Hair Love in exchange for an honest review.


Note: Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the beautiful short film based on this book.

  • Number of Pages: 32

  • Recommended Ages: 4-8

  • Publisher: Kokila (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers)

  • Publication Date: May 14, 2019

  • Order Your Copy: Here

Book Summary

It's up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.

Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.

Thoughts

Hair Love is the book we wanted, but didn't realize we actually needed, until it was in our hands!

First, can we just give a moment of silence to honor that this book highlights the love a Black father has for his child? *silence* It's wonderful seeing a Black father in a children's book and even more special to see him bonding with his daughter in a way that we usually don't see. We know that there are many dads who participate in wash day and hairstyling, but we don't often see it in media and definitely not in books.

We also love how Hair Love shows that learning how to care for natural hair is very doable. There was a time that natural hair was considered difficult or too much work. This led many people to opt for chemicals and straighteners that would make their hair more manageable. Today, there are tons of resources that explain hair textures, styling tips, and more. Hair Love shows Zuri's dad using those resources to help his little girl feel her best. This may inspire some people who have been wanting to rock their natural hair to go ahead and take the leap.

The illustrations in this book are everything! There's a reason Vashti Harrison is one of our favorite illustrators; she brings characters and stories to life with her work. In Hair Love, her drawings make it easy to feel the love between Zuri and her dad. The drawings are captivating and pulls readers in with each turn of the page. Take a look at this beautiful page below to see what we mean.

Natural Hair Styling Tips

  1. Know your hair texture - knowing the texture of you hair can help with finding the right styling products. It can also help you choose tutorials with people whose hair best matches yours. Everyone's hair has it's own personality, knowing yours can set you up for success!

  2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize - Moisture is your friend! Natural hair needs moisture to be healthy. Moisture also helps with detangling and getting your hair to do what you want it to do.

  3. Be like Zuri's Dad, use the world wide web. Zuri's dad used the power of the internet to learn how to style Zuri's hair. Here a few videos to help with caring for natural hair:

Natural Hair Styling Tools Recommendations

We did an unofficial poll of our volunteers (moms, dads, and teens) to find out which natural hair tools they used the most. Here's the top tools that won out.

  • Wide tooth comb - for detangling

  • Rat tail comb - for styling

  • Denman brush - for detangling

  • Boar bristle brush - for laying down fly aways

  • Hair clips, bows, no pull rubber bands, headbands - for easy wash days and styling

  • Headwrap - silk for protecting your hair when sleep. cotton for hair wash days

  • Gabby Bows - great for little girls hairstyles.

  • Leave in conditioner - moisture

  • Shampoo - for cleansing and moisturizing

  • Hair milk - moisture

  • Curling cream - for styling

  • Hair Butters - for styling (shea, mango, kokum, cocoa butter, etc.)

  • Oil - for locking in the moisture (jojoba, almond, coconut, olive oil, etc.)



A lot of this post is focused on natural hair because Zuri and her dad rock their natural hair and because natural hair rocks! Hair Love inspires readers to love their hair, their style, and to love the joy you get from being free to express yourself no matter what!

Remember to pick up your copy of Hair Love today! It's sure to be one of the books your readers turn to for some Hair Love inspiration!

Your turn

Natural, relaxed, kinks, coils, or braids, where do you turn for hair styling tips, tricks and tools? Give us a shout out and let us know.

Author Bio

Matthew A. Cherry - Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver turned filmmaker who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens. In 2007 he retired and moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment landing work as a production assistant on over 40 commercials and

as a director for over 20 music videos. Matthew received his first credit in 2008 when directed a music video for R&B artist Terry Dexter. Since then he has gone on to direct music videos for Michelle Williams featuring Beyonce & Kelly Rowland, Tweet, Jazmine Sullivan, Lalah Hathaway, Kindred The Family Soul, Snoop Dogg, The Foreign Exchange, Bilal, N'Dambi, Maysa Leak, Dwele, Najee, K’Jon and Chloe X Halle. In addition to directing music videos Matthew directed the short film entitled This Time starring Reagan Gomez-Preston & Terri J. Vaughn and recently released a new short film entitled Forward which premiered on Ebony.com. Matthew also writes & directs web series like the award winning series "Almost 30" and "Almost Home".

Illustrator Bio

Vashti Harrison - Part author - Illustrator - filmmaker Vashti Harrison is an artist originally from Onley, Virginia. She has a background in cinematography and screenwriting and a love for storytelling. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art with concentrations in Film and Cinematography. She received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and kidlit worlds.​

Her Experimental films and videos focus on her Caribbean Heritage and folklore. They have shown around the world at film festivals and venues including the New York Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival..

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