This Is My Hair

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Overview

My name is Todd Parr. I live in San Francisco. This is my hair when I'm painting. This is my hair when I see a bear. Open this book to see how silly hair can be!

With bold colors and simple line drawings, up-and-coming artist Todd Parr presents four new books about individuality and self-acceptance. Parents and children are sure to love these fun, bright picture books.

Simple text and child-like ...

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Overview

My name is Todd Parr. I live in San Francisco. This is my hair when I'm painting. This is my hair when I see a bear. Open this book to see how silly hair can be!

With bold colors and simple line drawings, up-and-coming artist Todd Parr presents four new books about individuality and self-acceptance. Parents and children are sure to love these fun, bright picture books.

Simple text and child-like drawings describe how hair can look in many different situations.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
A round-faced character is shown with her hair in lots of silly forms--messy upon awakening, straight up at a rock concert, with a green face when pig tails are pulled too tight, hair with spaghetti and meatballs, and more. There isn't any discernable logic; few kids for whom the book is targeted will know what a rock concert is, and the repetitious text is sometimes funny but often not. The message on the last page "No matter how your hair looks, always feel good about yourself" is a good one, but it seems tacked on to the board book rather than the central theme.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A set of clever, small-sized offerings illustrated with boldly outlined minimalist drawings done in primary colors. The round, stick-figure characters are presented with green faces, yellow faces, blue hair, and green hair, and are often amusingly out of proportion. Do's and Don'ts is a balanced selection of the advisable and the ludicrous. "Do help keep the house clean/Don't vacuum up the cat." Alternating silly and serious suggestions makes the sensible advice palatable for kids. The Okay Book is a refreshingly agenda-free affirmation of individuality. "It's okay to wear two different socks...It's okay to wear glasses...It's okay to eat all the frosting off your birthday cake." Things That Make You Feel... gently reminds readers of the balance in their lives, "Good chicken soup/Bad chicken pox." This Is My Hair is straightforward and humorous: "This is my Hair in pigtails/This is my Hair with spaghetti and meatballs in it." A short, but appropriate message from the author at the end of the book states, "No matter how your hair looks, always feel good about yourself." All four titles offer reassuring and kindhearted lessons.-Christy Norris Blanchette, Valley Cottage Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Parr has a child's take on hair's many states—it can stand on end, blow in the wind, bubble with soap, or be pulled back into pigtails. He playfully records hair situations most children will recognize: Hair at a rock concert stands up straight, while a 'do with too much hairspray turns into bedsprings gone berserk. Simple line drawings done in bold colors communicate the narrator's notions: "This is my hair with my hat off" shows hair so flat a steam roller might have driven over it. The ending is uplifting—"No matter how your hair looks, always feel good about yourself. Love, Todd." This book and its companions (The Okay Book, Do's and Don'ts, and Things That Make You Feel Good/Things That Make You Feel Bad) have an attitude and look that should send them flying off the shelves. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316908115
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Todd Parr

Todd Parr has created numerous popular books for children, as well as designs for numerous products including children's games, furniture, clothing, bedding, and school supplies.

Biography

Author/illustrator Todd Parr is the poster child for perseverance. Growing up in Wyoming, he knew he wanted to be an artist, but he met with rejection at almost every turn. In school, his drawings and paintings were considered childish and simplistic. He even failed his high school art course for not meeting class standards. As a result, for many years he lacked the self-confidence to pursue his dreams. Then, when he finally mustered the resolve to begin painting in earnest, his work was turned down by dozens of galleries.

Yet, in spite of these roadblocks, Parr persisted. He arranged a small showing of his paintings at Wolfgang Puck's San Francisco restaurant Postrio. A buyer for Macy's West saw his canvases and encouraged him to design a line of merchandise for the store. Then, in 1998, Parr's bold, colorful style caught the eye of Little Brown agent Megan Tingley, who approached him to write children's books. The rest, as they say, is publishing history.

Unlike other children's authors, Parr is not a traditional storyteller; yet his books—with their positive, reassuring messages about acceptance, self-confidence, and diversity—have become enormously popular. In bestsellers like The Family Book, We Belong Together and It's Okay to Be Different, he encourage preschoolers to be themselves, to express their feelings, and to celebrate what makes each of them unique.

But it is his artwork—cheerful stick figures rendered in bright, neon colors and outlined boldly in black—that makes Parr one of the most recognized names in the world of children's literature. The same simplicity of technique that once drew criticism has proved to be his most bankable commodity. His work has been displayed in the windows of FAO Schwartz, his products are sold worldwide, and he has won awards for his books and for his preschool television show ToddWorld. Pretty good for a kid who was thrown out of high school art class!

Good To Know

Not all of Parr's fans are eight and under—teens in Japan reportedly swamped the author on his book tour, bringing rice cookers and surfboards for signing.

Before he began his career as a children's author, Parr was a flight attendant for United Airlines.

Parr's first job was working at Taco Time for $1 an hour at age 11. "I was going to own my own someday," he said in an interview with Barnes & Noble.com. "I still love tacos. :)"

Parr gives special credit to his family for their support: "I have a very special family," he told Barnes & Noble.com. "They never really understood me, but encouraged me to go after everything I wanted even when we did not agree. As I now realize—this takes a lot of love to do."

Parr has no formal art training.

He was flabbergasted when he was approached to write children's books. "I can't even spell," he told us, "so the idea of being an 'author' never entered my mind!" Once he realized this would not be an obstacle, it cleared the way for him to focus on his artwork and the messages behind it.

When asked what kind of advice he would give to kids who want to be artists, here's what Parr told us:
Believe in yourself. Art is art even if no one else likes what you do. If it makes you happy, stay with it. Don't give up. And surround yourself with your work to remind yourself of what makes you feel good.

The message behind my work stemmed somewhat from my childhood because it was not okay for me to be who I was. I did not conform to the "norm" or want to be like everyone else. Things have not changed that much for kids today either; it seems harder for them. So in the process of doing what I'm doing in my work—enjoying my life and being happy—if I can help someone, especially kids, learn to believe in themselves, accept others, and learn not to hate, then maybe someone's life will be a little easier and maybe their dreams a little closer to coming true."

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    1. Hometown:
      Berkeley, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 9, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Rock Springs, Wyoming
    1. Education:
      High school diploma
    2. Website:

Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Todd Parr

His work is colorful, quirky, and kid-friendly -- and he firmly believes you should "Be Who You Are." He's up-and-coming artist Todd Parr, and he's been connecting with kids everywhere! Parr is the author of fabulous board books that promote self-confidence and tolerance, including: Do's and Don'ts, This is My Hair, The Okay Book, and Things That Make You Feel Good/Things That Make You Feel Bad. His illustrations are bold, bright, and eye-catching, and his text is meaningful but light. It's a truly effective formula for engaging kids and encouraging them to feel good about themselves.

Barnes & Noble.com: Have you always been an artist? What kind of artistic training have you had?

Todd Parr: Yes. I have always been an artist. I have no formal training in art and was kicked out of art class in high school for not drawing and painting what the teacher wanted. I lacked the self-confidence to think I had a chance at a career in art.

B&N.com: Did you ever think you'd be a children's book author? How do you feel about this "new career"?

TP: No, I did not. I can't even spell, so the idea of being an "author" didn't enter my mind. About my new "career," I love it -- once I realized that it was okay that I was not a traditional storyteller and couldn't spell (thanks, Megan and Little, Brown [Todd's editor and publisher]!). It cleared the way for me to focus on my artwork and the messages behind it.

B&N.com: Can you give us a hint about your future books?

TP: My future books will be a lot like these (feel-good, positive messages about life, differences, self-confidence, and acceptance -- and cool new colors). I'm even doing a baby book that has lots of neat stuff in it.

B&N.com: It seems that you're a true example of how "being persistent pays off" (i.e., after San Francisco galleries rejected your work, you found placement for your work in local restaurants -- where a Macy's West buyer saw and liked your canvases and eventually built a boutique in her stores around your T-shirts, mugs, etc.). Were you ever tempted to give up? How did you stay motivated?

TP: I was sometimes tempted to give up, but as I look back now at where I started, I can't believe I did not give up because of what I have learned through this process. I stayed motivated by believing in myself and reminding myself that if I wanted something badly enough I could do it, and it was not going to be easy.

B&N.com: What kind of advice would you give to kids who want to be artists?

TP: Believe in yourself. Art is art, even if no one else likes what you do. If it makes you happy, stay with it. Don't give up. And surround yourself with your work to remind yourself of what makes you feel good.

B&N.com: How does it feel to now see your art everywhere (on everything from clothing to stationery to tabletop ceramics and home furnishings)?

TP: This has all been a long process, even though it sometimes seems like it all happened overnight. So the first time I went to the restaurant that had my artwork I just sat and stared, with goose bumps all over my body. But as time goes on and you work so hard, you forget sometimes what it feels like to accomplish all this.

B&N.com: You have been called the "Keith Haring for kids." How do you feel about that?

TP: I guess that's okay. Sometimes being compared to someone seems like you are copying them, but I really admired Keith Haring. I think in many ways, in the back of my mind, thinking about him and his work made me stronger.

B&N.com: Can you tell me a little about the F.A.O. Schwarz window display, "It's Okay to Be Different."

TP: This is the coolest thing for me to be in the windows of the coolest toy store in the world. This is a canvas not many artists get. F.A.O. really liked my work and the message "It's Okay to Be Different" and felt that it should be a big part of the art in the windows.

B&N.com: It seems the prevailing theme behind your art is "It's okay to be yourself, express yourself, and have fun doing it." Why is it personally so important for you to get this message out to kids?

TP: The message behind my work stemmed somewhat from my childhood because it was not okay for me to be who I was. I did not conform to the "norm" or want to be like everyone else. Things have not changed that much for kids today either; it seems harder for them. So in the process of doing what I'm doing in my work -- enjoying my life and being happy -- if I can help someone, especially kids, learn to believe in themselves, accept others, and learn not to hate, then maybe someone's life will be a little easier and maybe their dreams a little closer to coming true.

B&N.com: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, Todd. Your books are really special, and we can't wait to see more of your work! (Jamie Levine)

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

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