We are so sick of hearing about people who continue to perpetuate the idea of “pelo malo,” especially since some of us now have children with beautiful crowns of curly hair. For years Afro-Latinx and other Latinx people with naturally curly or kinky hair have had to deal with negative opinions about our hair, but it’s one thing to have dealt with it ourselves, and a completely different thing when it comes to our kids. We are not about to let dangerous and harmful stigmas make their way into our children’s hearts and minds. There’s absolutely no excuse for anyone who tries to shame or embarrass another person—especially a child—for something like the texture of their hair.
So we’re using all the tools at our disposal to help our children celebrate the beauty of their tresses, regardless of texture, curl pattern or color. One we particularly love is the gorgeous pictures books on the topic that have been written and illustrated by Latinx and Black authors. Children’s books about celebrating and embracing natural hair textures are a fun and impactful way to help our kids learn to love their hair from an early age. They’re also the perfect tool to use to help ingraining hair positivity in them right from the start. Read one to find some of our favorite books that are fighting the idea of pelo malo.
Stella’s Stellar Hair by Yesenia Moises
When we passed by this gorgeous book in our local library, we absolutely had to bring it home. Stella’s Stellar Hair by Afro-Latina author Yesenia Moises is about an adorable young girl who wakes up on the day of a big event and finds herself totally frustrated with her hair. It doesn’t look the way she wants it to, so she goes on an inter-planet journey to ask her tias for help, only to discover no one else’s style is exactly right for her.
Stella’s Stellar Hair by Yesenia Moises, $17, available at The Lit Bar
I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley
In this heartwarming story, a little girl learns to love, appreciate and celebrate her hair through her nightly hair combing routine with her mom. It’s an absolutely beautiful read, that will help little girls and their caregivers learn to bond through the sometimes difficult process of detangling a head full of gorgeous, natural kinks and curls.
I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley, $7, available at NatashaTarpleyWrites.com
Hair Story by NoNieqa Ramos
This new release from children’s and YA author NoNieqa Ramos, features her signature rhythmic prose, and is about a Black girl and a Puerto Rican girl learning to love their hair through the games of hair salon they play together. Their games are inspired by the women around them including their moms, neighbors and cultural icons, which helps them learn about the stories their hair holds.
Hair Story by NoNieqa Ramos, $18, available at Boogie Down Books
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
The book Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry has been making waves for some time now. It’s based on the Oscar-winning short film of the same name, and chronicles the journey of a father tasked with doing his daughter’s hair for the very first time. Throughout the sweet tale, daddy and daughter learn about love, confidence and the importance of togetherness.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, $9, available at Amazon
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
We’ve been big fans of author and illustrator Sharee Miller since before her first book Princess Hair was even released, and our appreciation for her work only grew even greater when we finally got our hands on a copy. This books is a fun journey through the perspectives of little girls with all different types of wavy, curly and kinky hair, and a celebration of the fact that while our hair is always a beautiful part of us, it doesn’t define us.
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller, $7, available at Bookshop.org
Bad Hair Does Not Exist/Pelo Malo No Existe by Sulma Arzu-Brown
Sulma Arzu-Brown is a Garifuna woman from Honduras who decided to write the book Bad Hair Does Not Exist/Pelo Melo No Existe when her then-toddler’s babysitter said that her daughter had “pelo malo.” Published way back in 2014, it was one of the first children’s books on the topic by a Latinx author ever written. The book talks about all different hair types, and definitively concludes that none of them are bad.
Bad Hair Does Not Exist/Pelo Melo No Existe by Sulma Arzu-Brown, $10, available at cafeconlibrosbooks.indielite.org/
My Hair is Magic by M.L. Marroquin
Inspired by the experiences of the author’s own children, this book is about a little girl who is proud of her hair no matter how many times people ask her ridiculous questions about it. Told in verse, the story extols the unique and lovely characteristics of her gorgeous, soft, fluffy hair.
My Hair is Magic by M.L. Marroquin, $17, Bookshop.org
I Love My Cotton Candy Hair by Nicole L. Updegraff
This sweet book is about a young girl who is striving to fit in with those around her, but her hair makes her stand out. Along the way she compares the pros and cons of her naturally curly hair, ultimately deciding that she loves her hair just the way it is.
I Love My Cotton Candy Hair by Nicole L. Updegraff, $14, Amazon.com
My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera
This stunning book by author and illustrator Cozbi A. Cabrera is a powerful read about a young girl who is tired of being bullied because of her hair. A neighbor helps her realize that her natural hair is beautiful and not something to be ashamed of, using metaphors from her thriving backyard garden.
My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera, $16, Bookshop.org
The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair by Christopher Garcia-Halenar and Alejandro Garcia-Halenar
This book is written by creative couple Christopher and Alejandro Garcia-Halenar who have used experiences from their own lives to create several empowering children’s books. This one was inspired by their niece, and in the story, the little girls daily adventures with her adorable puppy are determined by how she chooses to wear her thick, curly hair each morning.
The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair by Christopher and Alejandro Garcia-Halenar, $13, available at Cafe Con Libros
Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe
This one is intended for the little guys in your life. It is written and illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe who worked with Vice President Kamala Harris on her book, Superheroes Are Everywhere. The book celebrates boys with natural, Black hair and helps them build confidence in their hair textures, from curls to afros, and everything in between.
Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe, $17, available at Mija Books