After decades of white princesses’ domination of American fairy tales, Miller expands the vision of what princess hair can look like to black girls.
Spread by double-page spread, the book highlights a multitude of diverse hairstyles while young girls play dress-up, all the while wearing their princess crowns. From twist outs to blowouts, dreadlocks to curls, Bantu knots to Afros, this is an all-out celebration of black hair. Deconstructing stereotypes, Miller takes the narrative beyond hair, portraying girls in their pretend play as young artists, thinkers, bakers, and even rock stars sporting a wide array of frohawks. The girls depicted in her ink-and-watercolor illustrations range in skin tone from dark brown to very light, and their hair ranges likewise from black to light brown and red. The text is simple, effectively a catalog of hairstyles, each one printed in capitalized and colored display type for emphasis. Some, though not all, lines play with internal rhyme: “Princesses with HEAD WRAPS take long naps. / Princesses with CURLS wear pearls. / And princesses with TEENY-WEENY AFROS wear teeny-weeny bows.”
A sweet and joyful affirmation of the truth that “NAPPY princesses are HAPPY princesses.” (Picture book. 4-7)
8 New Kids’ Books By Black Writers
Princess Hair, by Sharee Miller
In this adorably illustrated book for early readers, debut author Sharee Miller celebrates the diversity of black hair. Princess Hair shows young girls that whether you wear dreadlocks or puffs, you’re still a princess.
Celebrate Black History Month Every Month with Picture Books
This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.
MILLER, Sharee. Princess Hair. illus. by Sharee Miller. 32p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316562614.
PreS-Gr 2–The premise of this delightful picture book is that underneath their crowns, princesses have a variety of hairstyle choices. From Afros to curls to dreadlocks, youngsters are shown reveling in all the different ways to wear their tresses. Puffs, twist outs, and frohawks are just a few of styles that are celebrated. Lovely rhyming text and vibrant illustrations depict how kids can achieve that perfect look. For example, little princesses with braids are shown joyously marching in parades, while others with head wraps dreamily take long naps. The message of choosing whatever style brings happiness promotes poise and self-confidence. This book, with its theme of the beauty of diversity, will resonate with princesses everywhere. VERDICT A strong choice for picture book collections.–Mary Jennings, Camano Island Library, WA