Good hair by Yvonne Sewankambo and Freda Chiu

cover image

Birungi does not want to go to school. Getting up and having breakfast is nothing compared to getting her hair ready for school. After brushing and combing she announces to the kitchen, ‘I hate my hair’. Her unflappable parents take her outside for a walk to school, looking at everyone’s hair along the wy.

They see a vast range of hair styles, colours and lengths. They see people like Dad with no hair, some with hair that almost touches the ground, one with hair shaped into the pointers of a star, grey hair and red hair, hair cut into a bob shape, plaited hair, and frizzy hair. Mum tells her to listen to her hair, just with a sniff she can tell it is due for a wash.

Entering the school she calls out to her parents that she thinks that good hair is what is on her head, and goes into class happily. Every day is a good hair day.

This is a lovely positive book about image, chasing down the array of different hair types which are presented everyday.  At odds with her own hair, Birungi walks to school with the parents, amazed at all the different hair types, colours, styles and lengths they see.

And I do so like the illustrations, showing Birungi and her almost impossible hair, having to comb and brush it each morning. But she finds she is not alone; there are many others who have to spend a lot of time with their hair, just as many who spend lots of time at the hairdressers getting it just right. I love the images of Birungi having a hissy fit about her hair and not wanting to go to school. How many kids do not want to go to school because of a something which they think is not acceptable, only to find their concern is negligible. I love Dad and Mum, walking beside their daughter, unfazed by her tantrum, ready to help her find her own way through the problem. The images of her parents are adorable.

Themes: Self image, Hair, Hairstyles, School, Family.

Fran Knight