CROWNING GLORY by Joyce Carol Thomas


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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A celebration of hair, the hair of beautiful African-American girls, is the focus of this collection of gentle, joyful poems. The hairstyles emerge: braids, curls, dreadlocks, natural, sometimes wrapped with twine for strength or covered in colorful scarves, or adorned with ribbons, combs, bows, and all the other accouterments. Even wigs and glorious hats are part of the fun. Each poem is also a tiny moment in time conveyed in simple, conversational language. Told in the voice of a curious, observant child, these poems are as much about the love among all the women of her family, as they tenderly share secrets and wisdom, as it is about hairstyles. She remembers her mother humming as she plaits her hair, using the curling iron to turn “straight into wavy,” watching her great grandma weave black twine through her hair, and teasing her cousin about her dreadlocks. She describes her mama’s “natural” hairstyle as “a continent” and “her glory on earth.” When she asks for a definition of “good hair,” she is lovingly told, “Why it’s understood, Sister, if it’s on your head it’s good!” This child’s world is full of beauty, and Smith’s soft pastels convey that beauty perfectly. The illustrations glow with a sense of joy, comfort, and security. The author-illustrator collaboration took ten years to complete and the results are well worth the time and effort. One unfortunate typographical error in which “berets” is mistakenly used in place of “barrettes” does not in any way mar an otherwise delightful work. (author’s note) (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-023473-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2002


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