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Reviewed by Louise Hurrell for Readers' Favorite
Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in an article, 'Hair is something we see, but we don't understand what's behind it, kind of like race. It's the same way that something seems obvious, but it is really complicated and complex'. The relationship that young girls have with their hair is central to Dawn Doig's picture book Hair Peace, based on her experiences in Cameroon. Doig expertly captures the anxiety that girls can feel concerning their hair and, in a wider context, their bodies. Yet she never condescends or talks down to her audience; she empathizes with their concerns which makes the book much more effective. I think Doig brilliantly conveyed her key message, and the central theme of body positivity hits home. The character of Johanita is also beautifully portrayed. A lot of young readers will relate to her because, on one hand, she is fun and playful and on the other, she is very insecure. Watching her journey to self-confidence was very sweet and touching. I think Doig has done a wonderful job creating an engaging main character.
The illustrations by Savannah Horton complement Dawn Doig's story nicely. They were very effective in reinforcing the book's main ideas, and will probably help younger readers understand more fully what is happening. Overall, I think Hair Peace is a great picture book. It has a very powerful, uplifting message that children (and probably some adults) will be able to relate to and sympathize with. Johanita is also a very charming, likeable character who helps to draw the reader into the story. Coupled with Horton's images, Hair Peace is a sweet, inspiring story.