Written & Illustrated by:
Ruth Forman & Geneva Bowers
For ages: Infant & Up (board book)
- Own Voices
- BIPOC Protagonists
- Natural Hair
Summary: In this gorgeous and poetic board book, the reader follows four friends that wear their natural hair in different ways. The children are buoyant and play together joyfully. Author Ruth Forman wrote the book when her young daughter expressed she didn’t like her curly hair as much as straight hair.
I’ve shared picture books about hair before, especially Black and Brown children loving their magical locks. This is probably the first board book I can think of that addresses the issue of self-esteem and Eurocentric beauty standards, and I’m so glad it exists in the world. Both of these are issues that can be offset with a good foundation of self-esteem and identities reflected back to the reader from the books they read. These books are crucial for everyone, it shouldn’t be extraordinary to have Black and Brown joy in books (especially own voices stories). This board book is very sweet, and I love the illustrations by self-taught artist Geneva Bowers. I hope you all get a chance to check this gorgeous book out, and it’s definitely going to be on my essential baby shower gift list!
This book was kindly sent by Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are my own!
Ruth Forman is the author of the board books Curls and Glow (Simon & Schuster, 2020 & 2021). She is an award-winning author of the poetry collections Prayers Like Shoes (Whit, 2009), Renaissance (Beacon, 1997), and We Are the Young Magicians (Beacon, 1993) as well as the children’s book Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon(Children’s Book Press, 2007).
Ruth has received the Barnard New Women Poets Prize, The Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, The Durfee Artist Fellowship, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships, the National Council of Teachers of English Notable Book Award, and recognition by The American Library Association. She provides writing workshops at retreats, schools and universities across the country and abroad, and has presented in forums such as the United Nations, the PBS series The United States of Poetry and National Public Radio.
Ruth is a former teacher of creative writing with the University of Southern California and June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley, as well as a fourteen-year faculty member with the VONA-Voices writing program. Also an MFA graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, she often collaborates on film, music, dance, theatre, art and media projects. She is currently a professor at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. When not writing and teaching, she practices a passion for martial arts: classical Yang family style tai chi chuan, tai chi sword, and bo staff. Ms. Forman currently lives in Washington, DC.
Geneva Bowers is a self-taught illustrator based in Western North Carolina. Geneva loves manipulating color and adding whimsy with a touch of realism and calm.