Reviewed by Breanna McDaniel
Matthew A. Cherry wears many hats as a film director, producer and editor. With his debut picture book, Hair Love, he can now add children’s book author to that list. A colorful collaboration with illustrator Vashti Harrison (Little Leaders), Hair Love was inspired by an animated short of the same name created by Cherry to spotlight the lack of appreciation for African American textured hair in animation. He’s transitioned the story from film to page, and the result is an ode to the incredible versatility of African American hair and the charming resilience of a dad dedicated to his daughter.
Zuri is a young African American girl who introduces readers to her fabulous hair, which “kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” Harrison’s dreamy digital artwork showcases Zuri’s different styles, including a ‘fro that literally sparkles, intricate braids and afro puffs that look as soft as the curling clouds that border the page. There’s even a nod to the “magic” of shrinkage, when stretched or straightened hair curls up tight and “shrinks” after getting wet. Using before and after visual vignettes, Zuri explains, “From large to small it went. Presto! Just like that! There is nothing my hair can’t do!” Continue reading.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
Published by Penguin on May 14, 2019
Genres: African American, Hair, Banned Books
Reading Level: Early Childhood, Grade K, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
Review Source: Shelf Awareness
Buy at Powell's Books
Publisher's Synopsis: "I love that Hair Love is highlighting the relationship between a Black father and daughter. Matthew leads the ranks of new creatives who are telling unique stories of the Black experience. We need this." - Jordan Peele, Actor & Filmmaker
It's up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.
Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.
Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.