Happy to Be Nappy

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Acclaimed African-American author and poet bell hooks joins forces with illustrator Chris Raschka to celebrate the joy and beauty of nappy hair, in this exuberant, rhythmic, read-aloud book.

Celebrates the joy and beauty of nappy hair.

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Acclaimed African-American author and poet bell hooks joins forces with illustrator Chris Raschka to celebrate the joy and beauty of nappy hair, in this exuberant, rhythmic, read-aloud book.

Celebrates the joy and beauty of nappy hair.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Filled with images of the many styles worn by African Americans, Happy to Be Nappy is a lovely jaunt into the world of hair. It rejoices in freedom, accepting yourself, the beauty of nappy locks, mother-daughter rituals, and awaiting the day with optimism.

Author bell hooks and illustrator Chris Raschka introduce toddlers to all the wonders their hair holds. Hooks uses delightful imagery to describe the many styles of nappy hair. Hair that is"soft like cotton," that creates "a halo of a crown." Girls are encouraged to let their hair move them, inspiring joy and laughter: "Hair to take the gloom away," as hooks beautifully says. This flowing language is matched with Chris Raschka's gorgeous watercolors. Heads are surrounded by loose swatches of color that frame the beauty of that nappy hair. Fluid lines create a sense of whimsy and joy. Raschka creates a wealth of expressions on the little girls' faces with a few simple strokes of his brush, making them appear deceptively simple. One delightful scene shows a mom carefully arranging her little one's hair as the girl sits very still.

This splendid, celebratory board book will inspire readers of all races and colors to enjoy their unique traits, share them with world, and appreciate the diversity of others. (Amy Barkat)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This joyous ode to hair may well restart conversations that began last year with the controversy over Carolivia Herron's Nappy Hair. Bubbling over with affection, and injecting a strong self-esteem boost for girls, hooks's ebullient, poetic text celebrates the innate beauty and freedom of hair that's "soft like cotton,/ flower petal billowy soft, full of frizz and fuzz." Waxing poetic about "short tight naps" or "plaited strands all," hooks conjures all the lovely varieties of hairstyles that "let girls go running free." She sings the praises of "girlpie hair," subtly reinforcing her theme with a chorus of descriptive words like "halo" and "crown." She also evokes the intimate warmth of mother-daughter time--"sitting still for hands to brush or braid and make the day start hopefully." A powerful, uplifting and, above all, buoyantly fun read-aloud, the text receives a superb visual interpretation by Raschka (Like Likes Like). A master of minimalism, he works here in nuanced, impressionistic watercolors and suggests his subjects with a quick stroke of the brush here, a graceful sweep of line there. Bolstering the theme of individuality, he provides softly shaded washes of varying hue that set off the dazzling array of hairstyles like an aura and create a rhythmic flow of color across the pages. Broad swoops conjure curls and braids, quick stripes of colors make barrettes, and tiny dots create beads. Though clearly of particular interest to African-American girls, the infectious energy and spirit of this volume will appeal to all readers. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A short, rhythmic tribute to little girls with "nappy" locks. "Girlpie hair smells clean/and sweet/is soft like cotton,/flower petal billowy soft,/full of frizz and fuzz." Raschka's illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the brief, handwritten cursive text. They bring out the spirit behind hooks's writing and have great child appeal. With only watercolor-washed squares as background, the whimsical figures dance and caper. Reduced to the simplest childlike element, they nevertheless convey emotion and movement with the curve of a mouth or the jut of a hip. Using broad brush strokes, the artist creates fantastic hair that curls, whirls, and flows across the page or flips and piles over heads. This title is sure to invite comparisons to Carolivia Herron's Nappy Hair (Knopf, 1997). Hooks's text is gentler, a single, almost dreamy, literary voice. It is less personal than the lively call-and-response device found in Herron's book, which is full of the loving, yet pointed teasing of a large, close-knit family. Both authors, in their different ways, have written joyous celebrations that give hair a life of its own and encourage self-acceptance.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Barbara Aria
In Happy to Be Nappy, hooks gives girls a sense of wild freedom. With loopy words and flying rhythms, she tells girls that they're beautiful just the way they are, arms them with a sense of their own tremendous energy, shows them the pleasures of loving themselves and one another, and lets them revel in running and playing while the wind carries their hair all over the place.

Time Out New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786823772
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: Jump at the Sun Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.37 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

A world-renowned cultural critic, feminist theorist, and intellectual, bell hooks is a distinguished author and professor of English. She has written several acclaimed children's books including Be Boy Buzz , Skin Again and Happy to Be Nappy, all illustrated by Chris Raschka.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2004

    Girlpie cute

    My girls really liked the book. I have a 4 year old and a 3 year old. The illustrations are wonderful, so colorful and wild. My girls pay close attention to each of the girlpies' expressions. I think the wording leaves something to be desired, it doesn't flow as well as the illustrations. But the cutesy name of 'girlpie' hair is sweet.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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