Hey guys. So I’m switching it up a bit today and I’ll be doing a review (kinda sorta ish) of a kiddies book called Charlotte & the Two Puffs written by my very own big sister 🙂
Charlotte & the Two Puffs is my big sister’s brainchild and inspired by her actual child, my niece Charlotte or, as I affectionately call her, Char Boogie (that will be her DJ name maybe). The story takes us on a day in the life of Charlotte starting with Mummy trying hard to get Charlotte to do her hair. We see all the tricks Mummy has to employ to get Charlotte to stay still long enough for her to have her hair done, be it with toys and/or with food. Eventually she gets “Two puffs done!” and they are ready to take on the day.
I think all parents, aunts, uncles etc. can relate to the struggle. When children don’t want to sit still to do their hair only a straight jacket can restrain them and I think that’s frowned upon (by judgy people aka society). This is especially true of children of colour. Growing up in Jamaica, I know all too well of the battle myself and all of my friends had with our mother’s, grandmother’s, helper’s when it came to doing our hair. As I type this, I’m having flashbacks to the whole Sunday process of having to wash our hair, dry it and sit down in between my mum’s legs with a jar of Purelene/Dax/Blue Magic Hair Oil/Food on one side and a comb on the other. My mum did this with four daughters! I also remember growing up and going away to school and hearing similar stories told by other Caribbean and African students, stories of how the sight of a comb in our mother’s hands would either send us running or render us catatonic. Either that or we were dropped off at the hairdresser first thing Saturday morning and picked up at five in the evening smelling like Olive Oil Hair Sheen spray and full of stories we were way too young to hear much less understand. The struggle is real and international. If you ask me, kids these days including my niece, have it easy with their Shea Moisture for kids and spray bottles.
Charlotte and the Two Puffs is special to me for a number of reasons. The first being the obvious, my big sister wrote it. My sister has always been creative and is a natural go-getter. When she said she was going to write a children’s book I didn’t doubt for a moment that she could pull it off and honestly, there’s something rewarding about watching a sibling’s hard work come to fruition.
I also like that my sister is part of a new wave of children’s books writers, those who are writing books with children of colour with their natural hair. In an interview she did with the Jamaica Gleaner she said, “she wanted to ensure that it was a true depiction of a girl of colour – not a black girl with curly hair, but a girl with kinky hair – so that children can see themselves and know that irrespective of their hair type, they are ideal”. She emphasized that the story is not about hair or hair types. “It is a fun little book and story about a little girl who happens to be black and identifiable”. This hit home for me because I know first hand how hard it was for my sisters growing up due to the lack of representation of girls who had hair like theirs in books and media. I say “theirs” because I have (had) curly hair and representation in media was not really an issue for me. I can’t claim that struggle. The issue of “hair” and “hair texture” had the potential to cause contention between us but luckily my mother never let that happen. So while my sister’s book is not political in any way, black hair itself is and that’s why books like these matter.
Another reason I find this book special is because it was nice to be included in the process. I got to help edit, I got to have a say in the illustrations and which pictures were chosen. It feels nice to look at this book and say hey, I helped with that 🙂 Speaking of illustrations, I’m not sure where my sister found her illustrator but she did a fantastic job! Her name is Rahana Dariah and you can see some of her work here. Her illustrations combined with my sister’ vision produced a book that is not only fun to read but it is just so nice to look at. It’s bright and colourful and the characters are just so stinkin’ cute. I have seen young children walk right up to the book, open it and immediately be drawn in.
This book is a fun addition to any young child’s library and is great for them to read with their parents/guardians. I hope you guys check it out and if you do, let me know how you and the kiddos like it.
Til next time.
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