Magic Like That

By Kirkus Reviews

A 20-some–years-later companion to Natasha Tarpley’s I Love My Hair (1998). A young, dark-skinned, brown-eyed Black girl declares, “My hair is magic,” as she smiles at her own image in a mirror while her puffy, freshly shampooed hair drips. While she cringes when her mother combs out her tangles to style her hair, she admires and appreciates the results. She then describes a plethora of hairstyles she wears that show the versatility of her Afro-textured hair. On each double-page spread, she likens her hair to something in nature: When she wears it loose, her hair resembles ocean currents; she compares her Bantu knots to the windswept desert; with colorful barrettes in it, her hair is “a cloudless sky on a winter night”; and her braids are “like long vines tumbling from a garden trellis.” After each simile comes the refrain: “My hair is [adjective] like that”—majestic, mischievous, stunning, elegant, etc. Haitian American author Doyon creates an affirming story, enhanced by Black illustrator Bowers’ use of bright colors, lots of bold, face-front images, and beautiful natural settings to positively portray dark skin, African physical features, and highly textured hair. Readers who enjoy Yesenia Moises’ Stella’s Stellar Hair (2021) and M.L. Marroquin and Tonya Engel’s My Hair Is Magic (2020) will find just as much to love in this book. A fine addition to an expanding body of hair-affirming books that exude Black girl self-love and confidence.