So, the other day, this book popped through the door. Hair, it’s a Family Affair is the latest book by author and illustrator, Mylo Freeman. In it, the main character, Macy, tells her classmates all about her family, via their various hair styles.
Macy’s parents, siblings and extended family all feature in the book. We also see that she has a very close relationship with her grandmother. A grandmother who, by the looks of things, was living her best life back in the 1970’s! 👀
The images are fun and colourful, which was very attractive to Kid 1+1. To be honest, even 9 year old Kid 1 couldn’t help herself when she saw it and had to have a flick through. The messaging is powerful – Afro hair is versatile and beautiful. I would absolutely recommend this book for any child, although it is definitely a picture book rather than a reading book, so probably most suitable for Key Stage 1 aged children (5 to 7 years). Black children will see themselves reflected in the images and non-Black children will get an introduction to the varied hairstyles that their Black friends rock.
As we looked through the hairstyles, Kid 1+1 asked about one in particular, a typical African hairstyle in which cotton thread is wrapped around sections of hair, which can then be styled into the most wonderful creations. She was initially slightly bemused and curious, as the style is not something that she has seen before. I explained to her that lots of little girls in Nigeria wear their hair in this style, and that “Grandma used to wrap my hair in thread when I was in primary school, so I looked like that too”. Her eyes widened. “Really? Can you do mine like that…?”
Books featuring Black or ethnic minority lead characters make up only 1% of all children’s literature, which is a truly heartbreaking statistic, but, writers like @mylofreeman and publishers like @cassavarepublicpress mean that these stats can only get better 🙏🏾
I know that we are more than our hair, but seeing the joy on my daughter’s face as she leafed through the book, made my heart sing! 💛
Hair, it’s a Family Affair is published by and available from Cassava Republic Press
*This book was very kindly gifted to us in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are 100% my own.