My Fade Is Fresh

Penguin Workshop. Nov. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593387085.
PreS-Gr 1–In rhythmic text and hilarious art, Grant and Thomas put boots on the ground in a barber shop where absolutely everyone has an opinion. At ten o’clock in the morning, a Black mother and child walk into a shop called Chrissy’s Barber for “The freshest fade up on the block!” It’s two o’clock before they emerge from an odyssey of hairstyles, perhaps created by Chrissy herself, cheered on by the Greek chorus of other customers: “How ‘bout a trim that tucks it in?/ A frizzy ‘fro that’s neat and round./ Or parted with a parting comb and cornrows braided to the ground.” Spikes? Gel? Puffs? This goes on for pages, until the beleaguered child and barber have clearly had enough! Vivid use of color and expressive faces show the eagerness of the onlookers, the exasperation and woe of the key players (some of the spreads are explosive), and the joy when the child, in a yellow skirt and very fresh fade, shaved up the sides and squared across the top, heads out the door. The neighborhood shop-around-the corner mood is perfect; the triumph of getting just what you want is served up with precision. Children will love poring over the pictures, while adults will feel their blood pressure rising. Included is a gallery of hairstyles that range from locs and rows to waves and ‘fros, on children with skin colors that are an array of light to deepest brown, including a child with vitiligo, a condition that also appears on a character inside the book.
VERDICT A winner-takes-all glimpse of one of childhood’s major milestones, taking agency over fashion choices, personality, and style.

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