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Diverse Books For All Ages

Books That Celebrate Every Story, Every Voice, Every Child

Curls, Coils, and Confidence: Children's Books that Celebrate Black Hair


Did you know that legislation was needed to curb discrimination against natural hairstyles in the workplace? On July 3, 2019, the first CROWN Act legislation was signed in California. National CROWN Day is an annual celebration commemorating that inaugural signing. Since 2019, several other states have joined California and passed similar legislation.

The Crown Act, which stands for "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair," is a critical piece of legislation aimed at combating hair discrimination. This act seeks to end workplace and educational policies that unfairly target individuals with natural hairstyles because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including, but not limited to, braids, locs, twists and bantu knots.


By prohibiting this type of discrimination, The Crown Act promotes diversity, inclusion, and equality, ensuring that individuals can express their cultural and ethnic identities without fear of repercussions.

Gracie's Corner created a fun video celebrating the beauty of natural hair and the empowering CROWN movement. (video linked below)


Children's Books Celebrating Black Hair

Children's books that celebrate Black hair are a beacon of empowerment and cultural pride. These books not only showcase the beauty and diversity of Black hair but also serve as a powerful tool to combat stereotypes and biases that have persisted throughout history. By sharing these stories with young readers, we can instill self-esteem, foster understanding, and contribute to a more inclusive and accepting society.


For your convenience, we've included publisher's descriptions along with each book.

From the creator of My Beautiful Black Hair, this joyful board book celebrates the natural beauty of Black hair in all its shapes, styles, and textures!


My hair is like the sun . . . the stars . . . the ocean! From curls that wind like rivers to coils that shimmer like stars, this book featuring photographs of real children and their natural hairstyles encourages little ones to see themselves reflected in the wonders of nature. Tenderly written and stunningly photographed by St. Clair Detrick-Jules, and with vibrant illustrations by Tabitha Brown, this timeless book shares a sweet and powerful message of self-love.



The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother's hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. "A fresh cut makes boys fly."


This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber's chair--a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That's where it all begins.


Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.



A little girl makes sure she walks out of the barbershop rocking the fabulous hair style she chooses.


Learn the importance of speaking up for what you want through this fun and empowering picture book.


When a little girl walks into her local barbershop, she knows she wants the flyest, freshest fade on the block! But there are so many beautiful hairstyles to choose from, and the clients and her mother suggest them all: parts, perms, frizzy fros, dye jobs, locs, and even cornrows! But this little girl stays true to herself and makes sure she leaves the shop feeling on top with the look she picks!


Author Shauntay Grant's sweet, rhyming story encourages young girls to be self-confident and celebrates the many shapes and forms Black hair can take. Through their stunning illustrations, Kitt Thomas is able to bring life and movement to the versatile styles featured in this book.



Selah can't wait to show off her newly loc'd hair at school, but when she bounces off the bus, her classmates react with whispers and a word Selah hasn't heard before: dreadlocks. The word dread makes her uneasy: is there something scary about her hair? Selah's family shares stories about standing up to hair discrimination and why they love their locs, helping Selah return to school with confidence, because there's absolutely nothing dreadful about her hair!


Written with several elements of the African American oral tradition -- LOCS, NOT DREADS celebrates the rich history and beauty of naturally loc'd styles. Perfect for readers of CROWN: An Ode to the Fresh Cut and Hair Love.



A New York Times Bestseller and tie-in to Academy-Award Winning Short Film "Hair Love"


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 Academy-Award winning director and 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.


Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere. A perfect gift for special occasions including Father's Day, birthdays, baby showers, and more!



This joyous and loving celebration of family is the first-ever picture book to highlight Black nighttime hair traditions--and is perfect for every little girl who knows what it's like to lose her bonnet just before bedtime.


In my family, when the sun goes down, our hair goes up!

My brother slips a durag over his locs.

Sis swirls her hair in a wrap around her head.

Daddy covers his black waves with a cap.

Mama gathers her corkscrew curls in a scarf.

I always wear a bonnet over my braids, but tonight I can't find it anywhere!


Bedtime Bonnet gives readers a heartwarming peek into quintessential Black nighttime hair traditions and celebrates the love between all the members of this close-knit, multi-generational family.



An entertaining picture book that teaches the importance of asking for permission first as a young girl attempts to escape the curious hands that want to touch her hair.


It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; and even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she's chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens . . . until, finally, Aria has had enough!


Author-illustrator Sharee Miller takes the tradition of appreciation of black hair to a new, fresh, level as she doesn't seek to convince or remind young readers that their curls are beautiful -- she simply acknowledges black beauty while telling a fun, imaginative story.



Isaac can't grow a beard like his dad's, but helping his community makes him the coolest kid at the barbershop.


Isaac wants to grow a beard, just like his dad, who always seems to be the coolest guy in the barbershop. Isaac uses Dad's beard oil every day for weeks, but nothing happens. Next time it's barbershop day, Isaac doesn't even want to go back--but maybe there is still a way for him to grow the coolest beard.



In the vein of I Am Enough and Hold Them Close, this inspiring and beautiful picture book celebrates how hair wrapping ties together past and present.


When I wrap,

my roots run deep.

As deep as an African marketplace

or a city sidewalk

or the stories between them.


With lyrical text by acclaimed author Shauntay Grant and vibrant illustrations by Jenin Mohammed, When I Wrap My Hair is both an act of joyful recognition and a demonstration of how knowledge is passed through generations. (January 2024)



Filled with visual magic and storytelling wonder, these stories reimagine our favorite and most beloved childhood fairy tales and folktales to encourage creativity, empower imagination, and foster self-esteem.


Revisit beloved classics, but with a twist, such as The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, The Poisoned Apple, and find new favorites with stories created especially for the collection: Anansi and the Three Trials, Aku the Sun Maker, How the Zebra Got Its Stripes, The Legend of Princess Yennenga, and John Henry, the Steel-Drivin' Man.


A gift that will keep giving, CROWNED is a joyous celebration of Black beauty, determination, and imagination and a must-have for children and parents everywhere.



From Kahran and Regis Bethencourt, the dynamite husband and wife duo behind CreativeSoul Photography, comes GLORY, a photography book that shatters the conventional standards of beauty for Black children.


With stunning images of natural hair and gorgeous, inventive visual storytelling, GLORY puts Black beauty front and center with more than 100 breathtaking photographs and a collection of powerful essays about the children. At its heart, it is a recognition and celebration of the versatility and innate beauty of black hair, and black beauty. The glorious coffee-table book pays homage to the story of our royal past, celebrates the glory of the here and now, and even dares to forecast the future.


It brings to life past, present, and future visions of black culture and showcases the power and beauty of recognizing and celebrating oneself. Beauty as an expression of who you are is power. When we define our own standards of beauty, we take back that power. GLORY encourages children around the world to feel that power and harness it.


 

Looking for more great read aloud ideas? Visit these fabulous book lists:

 

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