Don't Touch My Hair!

Don't Touch My Hair! illus. by Sharee Miller. 40p. Little, Brown BFYR. Nov. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316562584. POP
PreS-Gr 2–Miller follows up Princess Hair with more follicle-related fun. Smiling bright, brown-skinned Aria happily shares the things she loves about her bouncy, beautiful hair. She receives plenty of compliments from others, too, which she enjoys—but she resolutely does not enjoy when people try to touch her hair without asking. In a series of amusing and increasingly wacky situations, Aria tries to flee from overly curious hands, first situating herself behind a shrub, then diving underwater with a mermaid, and even leaving Earth for the safety of space (where she is approached by two meddlesome aliens) all to no avail; everyone still wants to touch her hair! When she finally escapes notice, Aria feels lonely. She returns home, but she has something to say: "This is MY hair…please, just look and don't touch without my permission." Miller has managed to put an upbeat, silly spin on a relatable problem for many children that can be awkward and upsetting. Aria has an adventure, but more importantly, she is able to state her boundaries with others when it comes to physical contact. The book closes with examples of Aria saying both yes and no when asked about her hair, and those wishes being respected. Miller's bold mixed media art is a delight; each page brims with texture, from Aria's ebullient coils filling a spread to the zany houses of her bustling hometown. Young audiences will love pointing out each vibrant detail.
VERDICT An engaging, colorful lesson in personal space that will shine whether read aloud or one-on-one.

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