Dr. Melissa Munro Boyd is a wife, mother of three, HBCU-grad (Hampton, whoop whoop!), and a clinical psychologist in the US Army. Like any Black mom, she wanted to make sure that her children felt seen in the media they consume. That is why she embarked on a journey of writing children’s books. Her latest book, Hair Day is the perfect addition to any library, particularly when it comes to little girls with coily hair who are still learning the rites of passage when it comes to hair days and learning to love themselves.
In other words, diversity is still king. Let’s break that down.
Diversity has become a buzzword lately but it shouldn’t be trendy, it should be viewed as an action word. What that means in this case, is we actively need to work toward making sure that all children see themselves in the media they consume. When it comes to children’s books, that is especially important. In 2019, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) surveyed 3,716 books to get a sense of who the typical main characters in children’s and YA books were. The break down goes:
- Black/African: 11.9%
- First/Native Nations: 1%
- Asian/Asian American: 8.7%
- Latinx: 5.3%
- Pacific Islander: 0.05%
- White: 41.8%
That’s a small sampling of books sampled. However, it still speaks to the fact that we still have more work to do. That is why it’s important to bring attention to Hair Day. Munro Boyd wrote the story with her 8-year-old daughter (and with illustration by Adua Hernandez) about a little girl who goes with her mother to get her hair done at the salon for the first time.
“Writing Hair Day with my daughter, Bryanna, was such a wonderful experience. The time spent putting our ideas together and the great conversations we had about confidence, emotions, self-esteem, and hair will be memorable,” Munro Boyd tells Hello Beautiful. “Hair Day is a fun, colorful book about a young girl’s experience of going to a hair salon, embracing her hair, and finding beauty in the many hairstyles she can wear. The book shows a lovely bond between a mother and daughter and the importance of self-care and learning to love your hair.”
Hair Day’s protagonist ends up getting cornrows with pink and green beads (a nod to Munro Boyd’s Alpha Kappa Alpha sisterhood) but feels unsure of her decision after she walks past another salon and sees girls her age with straight hair.
Ultimately, the little girl’s mother, father, and brothers assure her that she made the right decision and that her uniqueness should be embraced. It’s a sweet story that celebrates the power of affirmation and familial bonds.
“As a psychologist and African American mother of three, I see the importance in having books that promote healthy messages about health, confidence, and self-esteem. It is also important to have images my children can relate to and that depict their beauty and diversity,” says Munro Boyd. “My first book, B is for Breathe, promotes social-emotional learning, positive coping skills and also includes diverse images to allow children to see themselves in a book. I hope my stories continue to reach many children and that they become a part of many homes, schools, libraries, and communities.”
I know tons of mothers can relate. As the mother of a precocious 4-year-old with lots of hair, we are still getting into our routine of hairstyling. She loves it when her hair is styled but hates the process. I haven’t taken her to a professional salon just yet but I have been trying to come up with other ways to help make the process fun and to instill pride in her. This book is the perfect cherry on top of an ongoing self-love journey I am trying to establish with my little girl.
Hair Day is available on Amazon.
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