A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Educates readers about boundaries and personal space, as a girl becomes aware of her right and power to decide who touches her body, specifically her hair. It's also an introduction to the sensitive issue of people touching black people's hair out of curiosity, and the unfortunate hurt feelings that can cause.
Respect the personal space of others, and demand that they respect yours.
Positive Role Models
The main character is an African American girl. Girls, boys, and adults are depicted in a variety of skin colors and ages. There are representations of other kinds of diversity, including women in hijab and an elder using a walker. Aria figures out that she can set her personal boundaries.
Violence & Scariness
There are a couple of illustrations where Aria runs and hides from people aggressively coming after her to touch her hair. Though these people don't intend to harm her, Aria sometimes looks scared by their behavior.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Don't Touch My Hair!, written and illustrated by Sharee Miller, is a picture book about an African American girl who finds herself annoyed by people who touch her hair without asking permission. There are some fantasy elements to the story, as Aria tries to escape from the world of people with grasping hands by going to outer space, under the ocean, and to other imaginary locales. The illustrations are fun, with an occasional touch of scariness: Some of the pages are framed with reaching hands, and occasionally Aria looks frightened. A lot of diversity is shown, including people of all ages, women in hijab, an elder who's using a walker, and people with a variety of skin tones.
Is It Any Good?
This ALA Children's Notable Book offers a funny take on serious topics. Author-illustrator Sharee Miller packs a lot of emotion into the illustrations in Don't Touch My Hair! There's a repeated motif of hands (in a variety of different skin tones) reaching from the borders of the pages towards Aria at the center. This image manages to be funny, claustrophobic, and multicultural all at once. The way Aria experiences her dilemma is particularly nuanced and effective. The author communicates that touching other people without their permission is wrong, but she also delivers the lesson that running away is no answer: Aria doesn't cure her problem; rather, she learns to navigate a world where other people are not perfect.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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