Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dalia's Wondrous Hair/El cabello maravilloso de Dalia by Laura Lacamara

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy
Grade Level: K-2
Interest Level: K-4
Themes: Self-Love, hair, imagination, butterflies, Cuban flora & fauna
Culture(s) – Cuban, youth

Hair is a big deal for many people. How does it look? I’m having a ‘bad’ hair day. Is it long? Is it short? Thick? Thinning? Gray? How shall I wear it? 

For many underserved and marginalized cultures, hair is often not only a big deal, but it is inextricably tied to their cultures, traditions and sense of self-love and standard of beauty. Unfortunately, for those same groups, it can also be a source of ridicule, judgment and self-loathing

It was just a few weeks ago that a twitter, instagram, media frenzy erupted over comments made by a Caucasian media personality about the locs of the teen Disney personality, Zendaya. The former, disparaged Zendaya’s Oscar night locs by saying they must smell like Patchouli and weed. Zendaya launched a quick, direct and intelligent response, educating folks on black hair texture, and the heritage, and pride associated with the hairstyle.

This is not the first time however, that an African American woman’s hairstyle choice has been met with an unfortunate,  uninformed and biased comment.   Unfortunately, it will not be the last, because in our culture where we are all held to a Caucasian beauty standard, any hair that is not long, straight and blonde for females and/or straight, and  neatly trimmed for males, will be looked upon by many as substandard and undesirable. (Note - many of these confused opinions are held by other African Americans)

Fortunately, we  have the opportunity to Validate and Affirm the beauty of hair that is “good” in ALL it’s textures, lengths and styles, and also Build and Bridge understanding and acceptance for the wonderful differences in our “locks”.

Dalia’s Wondrous Hair by Laura Lacamara is one of the latest delightful, authentic picture books that addresses a culture of “hair” for one little Cuban girl. The vibrant illustrations, bilingual text and whimsical tale of Dalia’s thick, exuberant, towering head of hair provides many instructional possibilties.  As a bonus, Lacamara also provides a glossary of the plant life native to Cuba mentioned in the story.

VABB your student's hair knowledge with this beautiful book!

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