Jamilla’s mom has many reasons why Jamilla should not hate her hair in this lively Canadian import.
It’s time to do her hair before school, and Jamilla hides the comb inside her puffy hair. She hates her hair; “It hurts. It’s a pain.” She wants to know why she has “bad” hair instead of “good hair” that’s “long and soft and pretty” like her classmates’. Her mother tells her it’s silly to want their hair when “the most fantabulous, splendiferous, boonoonoonous hair in the world is right here.” They agree that if she doesn’t cry or hide the comb anymore, Jamilla can wear her hair in a different style every day of the year. A week’s worth of hairstyles is pictured—including puffs, braids, cornrows, twists, a “wild” Afro, and, for Sunday, in ribbons as “Grandmother’s child.” James’ illustrations use strong lines, stylized facial features, and bold colors, with backgrounds of turquoise and yellow. They show the young black girl in various settings—a park, an art museum, a playground. The titular adjective will require translation for those unfamiliar with Jamaican patois, and the idea of changing hairstyles daily overlooks the effort that goes into each. Still, the energy between mother and child is infectious, and the rhythmic text is great fun to read.
This girl’s road to self-acceptance is playful, easy, and filled with love. (Picture book. 5-9)