An author explains the diversity of human hair types through an original creation story.
In her book, Samuels (Think Folks Are “Too Light?” Think Again!, 2015, etc.) asserts that her goal is for readers to gain an appreciation of all types of hair. The work is written for a young audience, and readers can tell that the author is a (now retired) schoolteacher. This is not the volume to turn to for a scientific overview of hair types or evolution; as stated in the title, it is a mythology (which the author invented). The myth goes back to the creation of the planet to explain the differences in human hair, orchestrated by the Master Creator, or “Master C.” Samuels’ creation myth draws heavily from the Judeo-Christian origin story but with a light, humorous tone and a focus on the origins of plant fibers, animal fur, and human hair. This kind of story would have perhaps been most effective as a picture book—the concept of a supreme being running a “hair factory,” staffed by “ghost servants” who must pick up the scraps of leftover hair, is a whimsical one. Master C dictates that the animals he produces must be wrapped in plant fibers appropriate for their habitats. After Master C creates man, he uses the leftovers from the animals to cover different parts of man’s body with hair. Once the creation myth is laid out, the book then arrays photos of plant fibers with animals whose fur resembles those fibers, and then people whose hair looks like the fibers and fur. Possibly these comparisons will be reassuring to children too young to delve into the science of biodiversity or examine why stigmas against certain hair types exist. On the other hand, individuals with Afro hairstyles may not appreciate being compared to sheep. The book concludes with a useful workbook section that challenges readers to question their value judgments of hair types.
A fanciful tale that may help children explore their feelings about hair in today’s culture.