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Hair Love

Book review by
Angela Zimmerman, Common Sense Media
Hair Love Book Poster Image
Lively, loving celebration of a dad, daughter, and her hair.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about hair types and textures and gain a lovely understanding of a dad-and-daughter relationship. 

Positive Messages

There are lots of positive and encouraging messages throughout the story. Hair Love explores the rich dynamic of a relationship between a father and daughter when her mother is presumably out of town. The story reveals patience, perseverance, understanding, and dedication while the young girl strives to achieve the perfect hairstyle, despite it being challenging to nail down exactly what she wants. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The father shows endless patience and empathy towards his daughter's struggle to work her hair into a perfect style to celebrate a special day. Zuri has a keen awareness of her father's workload and is very appreciative of all he does for her. She also displays tenacity and dedication.

Violence & Scariness

A hair band snaps out of Zuri's hair and hits her dad in the eye, eliciting an "ouch!" 

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hair Love, by former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, is a lovingly depicted tale of a young African American girl's celebration of her hair and the special relationship she has with her father. Zuri is young and spirited, precocious and creative, and with the help of her dad is able to wrangle her kinky, coily hair into a style worthy of an extra special day. There are positive messages about patience and hard work, and Zuri has a keen awareness of her father's workload and all he does for her, especially when her mother is out of town. Harrison's rich, stylish, vivid illustrations amplify the story, which is based on Cherry's short animated film of the same name. 

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What's the story?

In HAIR LOVE, Zuri wakes up one special morning more determined than ever to have a hair day that represents her superhero spirit. Her kinky, coily hair has a mind of its own, but with some creativity, determination, and the help of her devoted father, Zuri creates the perfect style to welcome home an end-of-the-day surprise. 

Is it any good?

This is a wonderful celebration about a father and daughter's relationship with each other -- and her hair. Hair Love explores a dynamic that isn't oft-depicted in children's books: the dad being the sole guardian of his daughter's care (and hairstyles) while the mom is out of town. Bright, colorful illustrations lovingly capture the joy and confidence of childhood from the point-of-view of a spritely African American girl and her devoted father. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different kinds of hair. What makes Zuri's hair in Hair Love different from yours? How is it the same? How would you describe your own hair? What does she mean when she says her hair has a mind of its own? 

  • What makes Zuri's father seem like such a good dad? 

  • How do you feel about the surprise at the end of Hair Love? Why was it so important to Zuri that she have the perfect hairstyle? 

Book details

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