What’s Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

Albert Whitman. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807506080.
K-Gr 3–Bea likes to wear hats, and is accustomed to her alopecia and baldness. But when she hears that her school’s spirit week will culminate Friday with Silly Hair Day, she begins to feel self-conscious and left out. Her best friend, Shaleah, tries to cheer her up, offering helpful suggestions like a wig or silly hair crafted from yarn and pom poms. She even offers to skip the Spirit Week picnic if Bea doesn’t participate. Nothing is quite right for Bea, until on the eve of the dreaded day, a teacher unexpectedly inspires an alternative way to celebrate. Bea’s resolution is empowering, and provides a reminder for school administrators to offer inclusive alternatives for school activities. Paulson effectively conveys Bea’s tricky feelings, in the face of warm support from friends and family, and occasional feelings of exclusion. Despite the supportive structure suggested, secondary characters aren’t given much shine, especially her deeply caring and loyal best friend. An author’s note about alopecia and hair loss caused by chemotherapy misses the opportunity to provide talking points for parents and educators.
VERDICT Light on narrative strength but a welcome title to include in conversations of inclusion.

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