Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I Love My Hair!

Title: I Love My Hair!
Author: Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
Illustrated by: E. B. Lewis
Reading Level: Ages 3-8
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Click here to purchase I Love My Hair Online!

Love the book? Click here to read more stories written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley!

If you would like to learn a little more about the best-selling author, click here.

I Love My Hair! is a self-empowering picture book about a young African-American female named Keyana whom finds her Afro-centric hair to be different from others, causing her to be teased at school. She is encouraged by her mother and teacher to appreciate and develop a love for her beautiful hair. Once she learns that she can wear her hair in many different styles, she begins to appreciate how different her texture hair is in comparison to others. This book has a great message for young readers to understand and appreciate diversity.

Element #1- Self-Love and Knowledge:
I Love My Hair! does a great job with sending a positive message to African-American girls to appreciate their hair texture and culture, even though it can sometimes be tempting to want to follow the mainstream. The character Keyana developed a dislike for her thick curly hair because it was painful to get done and she would often get teased by other children at school, which embarrassed her. It wasn't until her mother and teacher made her feel better about her hair by explaining to her all of the creative ways in which she can style her hair, such as buns, accessorized braids, ponytails and best of all, an Afro.

Follow-Up Activity:
After reading I Love My Hair! teachers can take advantage of the opportunity to discuss and celebrate diversity within the classroom. Most likely every student will not look the same which can cause some students to dislike certain attributes about themselves because they aren't what society considers "common." This can serve as a perfect opportunity to acknowledge the different hair types in the classroom, but show how everyone's hair is beautiful. Teachers can discuss the difference between certain hair types, reasons for different hair textures and terms associated with hair for younger students. For older students, an experiment on hair follicles and a creative display of the different hair types in the classroom can also be used as a lesson.
For an example, click here.

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