Have you ever seen a girl with beads running, laughing, jumping and click-clacking in her joy? That’s My Beads and Me by Amber T. Bogan, illustrated by Karla Bivens. It’s a jubilant book that follows a girl and her love affair with her hair. She adores her beaded styles and lets them take her from her living room to adventures all over the world. It’s a perfect read for kids from 3 to 7, even if they’ve never had braids because of the opportunity to share in the protagonist’s exuberant self-love.
Because our hair has often been a focal point for conflict and control, there are a lot of children’s books celebrating Black kids and their hair. California’s CROWN Act allows Black workers to wear their hair the way it grows out of their heads to work. Again, it took a whole law for Black workers to be able to wear their hair the way it grows out of their heads to work. In 2019. We wrote about it here.
My oldest daughter loves her hair. LOVES IT. She says so all the time. She loves it in a tight afro, in a frizzy lion’s mane, in box braids, twists, puffs, cornrows, bantu knots and pressed. She and I share the same texture hair and even though I focused hard on making sure she loves her hair, I still find myself looking at her hair and mine with colonized eyes. I was brought up with colonized eyes that see beauty in its proximity to Whiteness: the hair must be smooth and tamed, or sport loose curls or waves. But not my child, she looks at herself and her hair with FREEDOM EYES. She exults in all the things her hair can do and her confidence astounds me, inspires me. So y’all, let’s get ourselves some FREEDOM EYES!
We are going to live in our joy today. We are going to love our curly/straight/long/short/big/bushy hair; we are going to strut in our patkas and hijabs. We are going to be FREE!!
Some other books that can help you and your kids develop your Freedom Eyes are: