My interactions with children over the years has given me a ton of ideas for writing. It has also shown me the need for more multicultural books in classrooms and homes. Children of all shades and ethnic backgrounds have the right to sit in a classroom and listen to or read books that have characters that look like they do. A few years ago, one of my African-American (not a fan of the word “black”) female student was staring at another student’s hair during circle time. The next day she told me that she hated her hair and wanted longer hair like some of the other girls. This saddened me. I thought about my childhood and some of my struggles with self hatred. I let her know much I loved her afro puffs, the colorful barrettes, and the sound of the beads that she wore in her hair. This was my attempt to plant the seed of love for oneself in this beautiful little girl.
A few years later, I came across the book. “I Love My Hair!” written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and illustrated by E.B. Lewis. The students were fully engaged as I read the story. Seeing the smiles on the faces of two African Americans girls faces was a wonderful feeling. If only I had the book three years earlier. Heck, 40 years ago!!