Book Review: If My Hair Had a Voice

Book Cover Images image of If My Hair Had a Voice

by , Illustrated by Patricia Grannum

    Publication Date: May 28, 2024
    List Price: $17.99
    Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    Target Age Group: Early Reader
    ISBN13: 9781506493602
    Imprint: Beaming Books
    Publisher: 1517 Media
    Parent Company: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    Read a Description of If My Hair Had a Voice

    Book Reviewed by Lisa Y? Wilson

    When another comb loses the battle with Kimya’s natural coils, feeling shame she apologizes and asks, “Can’t we just straighten it?” A few words of encouragement from her hairstylist Granny sends Kimya on a quest that leads to self-love and a greater perspective of her ancestry and cultural history.

    As Kimya takes notice of the people in her neighborhood and their various hairstyles, she becomes curious. Through Kimya, Miroballi takes readers on a journey toward understanding that hair and hairstyles have been vitally important to people of the diaspora. Three words: community, diversity, and identity inspire Kimya to research hair textures like her own for her school history project. Her initial struggles are depicted by blank notebook pages, and she finds very little and not-so-very-helpful information among museum artifacts. Exploring online options, Kimya uncovers a wealth of information about hairstyles in Africa and America and learns about discrimination based on hair.

    With the first full-page illustration, artist Patricia Grannum captures both Granny’s pride and Kimya’s frustration with her hair. Throughout the book, the artist, who lives in Trinidad and Tobago, illustrates the story with delightfully vibrant pictures that reflect the young girl’s excitement during her search and discovery.

    Miroballi is a teacher and speech-language pathologist, and this is her first published children’s book. On the surface, If My Hair Had a Voice seems like a story just about a young girl and her hair; however, it is a story rooted in history. It is full of facts about culture in Africa and how its people and varied hairstyles made their way to the Americas. Included in this worthwhile read is a “Guide to Afro-Textured Hairstyles” at the back. From showing the young girl seated between Granny’s knees to the depictions of textured styles and adornments, the author and illustrator make the connections to Africa and today’s American culture. As young Kimya’s research educates her and gives her an appreciation of who she is and where she comes from, the uplifting story and illustrations can provide the same exhilaration to children of all ages.

    Read Beaming Books’s description of If My Hair Had a Voice.

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