My Powerful Hair

Abrams. Mar. 2023. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419759437.
K-Gr 4–“I can’t wait for my hair to grow” is the powerful opening to this book, which lays groundwork for this compelling story highlighting not only the significance of hair to Indigenous peoples, but also memory, generational trauma, and the power of healing. Using three generations of hair as the medium, Lindstom’s sparse, poetic language (“Our ancestors say: Our hair is our memories. Our source of strength”) and Littlebird’s bright palette capture both serenity and hope. The debut illustrator’s watercolor, ink, and computer-generated art resembles woodcuts—an effective medium for the etchings contained within the long, dark hair floating across double spreads. Deep blues, pinks, and purples, punctuated by hopeful yellow, highlight the joy of memory and culture, particularly on spreads that use circles to underscore connection between generations. That only one (muted) spread explicitly references the Indian boarding schools that robbed the narrator’s grandmother of her hair highlights the power of healing, though back matter details the schools’ cruelty and lasting legacy.
VERDICT This is an emotionally searing story infused with important historical and cultural information on the significance of hair to Indigenous cultures. Highly recommended for all library collections.

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