My Hair by Hannah Lee, Illustrated by Allan Fatimaharan – 80% Out Of 100

Written by Hannah Lee, My Hair is the story of a young girl unsure about how to style her hair for her upcoming birthday party.

Drawing on inspiration from her parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, she considers a variety of hairstyles before settling on a special style for herself. My Hair is a fun and vibrant book, that celebrates Black afro hair in all it’s glorious versatility. It has a very strong message about self-esteem, and pride in one’s natural beauty. There’s a really lovely part, where the little girl talks about her auntie’s hairstyle:

“Aunty’s hair is shaved real short. Much like the head of a lioness! She is so cool, stylish and carefree, That’s how she likes it best!”

It’s fair to say that I liked this because I have the same hairstyle, but mostly I liked the fact the author really goes the distance in using strong, positive imagery when describing how each of the characters wears their hair. Speaking about her motivation and inspiration for writing My Hair, Lee said:

“There’s a euphoria that comes from reading about someone that looks like you; someone has recognised you and you feel like there’s a piece of art in the world that reflects you.”

Following the report that only 1% of children’s books have a BAME main character, it’s really gratifying to see the recent spate of children’s books such as Look Up by Nathan Byron illustrated by Dapo Adeola, and now My Hair by Hannah Lee, coming through to challenge that statistic. 

In this, I think it’s fair to say that she has achieved her objective, and I hope others will feel the same too.

My Hair will be published by Faber & Faber in September 2019


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