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Parents' Guide to

Black Girl, White School: Thriving, Surviving, and "No, You Can't Touch My Hair"

By Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Remarkable anthology brims with solidarity for Black girls.

Black Girl, White School: Thriving, Surviving, and "No, You Can't Touch My Hair" Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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This remarkable book is a balm for its intended niche audience (Black teen girls attending predominantly White schools), and potentially a tool for creating empathy in other readers. Olivia V.G. Clarke self-published Black Girl, White School: Thriving, Surviving, and "No, You Can't Touch My Hair" with the help of her mother, Terreece Clarke, a journalist -- and Common Sense Media book reviewer (who wasn't involved in writing or editing this review) -- who contributed the Afterword. As editor, Clarke does a wonderful job of balancing polemical, inspirational, and educational content. There is also diversity in the backgrounds and interests of the writers. For instance, one young woman writes about being a Muslim; another, about playing on the field hockey team; another, about how she deals with racist comments coming from a non-Black person of color.

The young women open up about their concerns authentically in these essays. Though each poem and essay is well written, reading them feels more like overhearing a rap group than consuming writing meant to be literary. The sharp focus on a specific reader and topic makes the book especially valuable to people going through or learning about this experience. The book is refreshingly free of agendas other than the one the title indicates: supporting Black girls studying in Predominantly White Institutions.

Book Details

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