The Boy with Flowers in His Hair

Candlewick. Apr. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536225228.
PreS-Gr 2–As narrated by his best friend, who has dark hair and brown skin, the name of the boy with flowers in his hair is David, a white boy with long branches sticking directly out of his head in place of hair. Attached to each branch is an array of colorful flowers of many different varieties. David’s flowers require watering, often attract bees, and cause the other students to laugh at how the branches and flowers poke and stick every which way. Students, of many different ethnicities, don’t think David is strange until the flowers start to fall out. David is left with bare branches and the other students start to avoid him until his best friend comes up with the idea of creating colorful paper flowers to hang on the empty limbs. Soon the other children are helping to bring color back to David’s boughs. Colorful digital illustrations set on a white background adorn each page of this picture book. The language is spare, and beautifully conveys from a child’s perspective the adaptability and acceptance of a child facing hardship. Pair this with any favorite title on bullies, and create SEL lessons that practically write themselves.
VERDICT Purchase for school libraries; this heartfelt demonstration of compassion is fantastic and realistic in equal measure.

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