I LOVE My Hair

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Keywords: 
Diversity
divlit
Literature
Respect
Self-Awareness
by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to celebrate loving your natural hair, as well as connecting with family and cultural heritage.

This is a story about how the author “fell in love with her hair.”  When she was a little girl, her mother would often comb her hair in the evening before bed. She would make herself comfortable sitting on the floor between her mom’s knees and relax as her mom oiled her scalp, parted and combed her hair.  This was their family time together.  This time provided for opportunities to get that “special attention” and a really nice hair style.  She would sit and think about her hair and compare it to yarn, garden rows, or a planet out in space. This made her feel different or unique. She felt proud and special.  Her hair and hair styles made her confident about who she was and important connections of cultural history through hairstyles.  

Literature Guide by Joyce Matthews

Before Reading 

Ask: As you look at the cover, what do you think about Natasha and her hair? Do you think we should touch other people's hair? Do you know how often some people get their hair done?  How many hours do you spend in the salon?  Does long hair only belong to girls? Why do you think the little girl is smiling so beautifully on the cover? Why do you think people add things to their hair?  What are polite ways we can give a compliment to someone about their hair?  What are polite ways we can ask people about their hair?

Show: The opening pages have photos of combs and barrettes. What types of items do you use to make your hair style look special? It may be a hat. 

Connect: What do you like about your hair? Do you remember times when someone took care of your hair?  How did you feel?  What do you remember most? 

During Reading 

Ask: Did you have any “Hurting Places” while your hair is combed, cut, or covered in a hat?  What things did you do to stop the pain? 

Show: While getting her hair combed or styled, Natasha likes to “Day Dream”?  What types of things did you think about when you day dream?   

Connect:  There are several examples of comparisons in the story.  Her hair was like yarn or garden rows.  What kinds of comparisons could you make about your hair. 

After Reading 

Ask: Why do you think her classmates teased her about her hair? How do you feel about that? What are things you can say to people who tease someone about their hair? 

Show: Hair styles are a form of “expression.” Natasha learned a great deal about her culture from some of her hair styles. Are there particular hairstyles in your culture? 

Connect: What attributes in your appearance make you happy? Natasha learned that her hairstyles made her happy and helped her to build her confidence as well as learn more about who she really is as a young African American girl. What part of your clothes or style tell about who you are?

Activities 

  1. Do you have favorite way to wear your hair or clothes?  How did you come to choose your favorites? Draw a cartoon of yourself standing up for the way you look. 
  2. What kind of self-talk can people say to themselves to encourage themselves to love their hair?  Create a drawing of yourself and add a few speech bubbles with the statements you came up with. 
  3. Look for photos of yourself wearing different styles. Which ones do you like the most? Create a photo book or drawings of your favorite looks. Ask your family and friends to choose their favorite. Do you agree? 
  4. Look through photos of different or interesting hairstyles. What types of items do you like placed in your hair?  How can these items make your hair style different? Which one would you try?  Why? 
  5. For fun, look up different types of Hair Combs and different types of Hair Brushes.
  6. Look around the grocery store and notice what people do with their hair. Brainstorm lots of words that describe hair.
  7. Think of kind things to say to people to let them know you noticed the effort they put into their hair to make it just right for them. Say something to boost someone's day next chance you get.