Wednesday, June 09, 2021



by Raakhee Mirchandani
illustrated by Holly Hatam
Little, Brown and Company, 2021
review copy provided by the publisher (thanks!)


From the author's note:
"This story is a window into my family and our tradition, one that started over five hundred years ago in Punjab and that we are proud to maintain and make our own here in America."
This is also a story about love -- the love of a father and daughter that centers around hair and culture, ancient traditions and insider jokes ("hair cheers" and "hip cheers"). For readers looking in through the window of this story, there is information (coconut oil smoothed in for untangling) and vocabulary (papa's joora/bun, patka/bun covering, and turban). Woven throughout the story is joy, shared at the end with friends in the park.


Pádraig Ó Tuama unpacked the poem "Coconut Oil" by Roshni Goyate on Poetry Unbound last week, and while it's not for children, the poem and his commentary are a perfect pairing for adult readers, especially those with "mainstream" (read white person) hair who will share Hair Twins with children and who need to continue to learn and understand how hair can be the source of racism and microaggressions.

For those who want to dig in deeper into the colonialism of beauty, check out this Code Switch podcast, or this PBS Newshour piece on "How hair discrimination impacts Black Americans in their personal lives and the workplace."


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