FICTION
Hair Love
illus. by Vashti Harrison. 32p. Penguin/Kokila. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525553366.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—Zuri wakes up on a very special day and needs a perfect hairstyle. The young black girl thinks of the wondrous things her hair can do and how it reflects her personality: "I love that my hair lets me be me!" Full-page spreads alternate with smaller sequential art as Zuri imagines herself a regal princess with beaded braids and a superhero with Afro puffs. When it comes time for the unidentified event, Zuri needs all the hair help she can get; luckily, Daddy is right by her side. With a comb and video tutorials in hand, he tries a number of styles to no avail; they just aren't special enough! Finally, the pair land the perfect look, and Zuri feels more ready than ever for her special event—her mother's long-awaited return. Cherry has crafted a celebration of black hair and family that will connect with many. Young readers may be all too familiar with Zuri's longing and excitement for a loved one to come home. Harrison's charming digital renderings thrive both in their detail and in the abstract, from the typical kid detritus piled under Zuri's bed to the dreamy pastel backgrounds. The characters' vivacity leaps off the page with sweetness and gentle humor; Zuri's unimpressed expressions will guarantee laughs during read-alouds. Mommy's headwrap and Daddy's locs may be an introduction, or a welcome moment of familiarity, for a variety of readers.
VERDICT A wonderful slice-of-life tale about family support, black hair, and embracing individuality. Highly recommended for picture book collections.

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