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Happy to Be Nappy (Board Book)
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Happy to Be Nappy (Board Book)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  935 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Happy to be nappy!
Happy with hair all short and strong.
Happy with locks that twist and curl.
Just all girl happy!
Happy to be nappy hair!

Legendary author bell hooks and Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka present a lyrical celebration, brimming with enthusiasm for girls and their hair. Nominated for an NAACP Image Award, this stunning picturebook is now available again in board
Board Book, 32 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1999)
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 ·  935 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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This is just a kids' book...a happy nappy kids book...that expresses joy for black hair. This is the way I think about black hair. bell hooks wrote the words here and she was unambiguous: This can be a joy. Happy to be nappy.

The paintings within are really great: blobs of color and streaks of hair that represent styles. "These short tight naps, or plaited strands all...let girls go running free. Happy with hair all short and strong...Happy with locks that twist and curl...Just all girl happy!"

Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more Picture book reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

A group of little girls with natural hair textures learn about the many things they can do with the hair they were born with.

My nephew just had to read this book with the little African-American girl on the cover! I actually quite love the art in this book. Since he also has long hair like the girls I think he really related to the book despite the girls wearing dresses. He loved the rhyming text and the bright poppy colors. He cho
Ashlee Gibson
I LOVE MY HAIR!!! This book encourages African American girls to be comfortable and love the natural state of their hair. It took me along time to embrace my natural hair so I can only imagine how children feel may feel about rocking their natural locks.
Phylicia Bohannon
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about little girls with natural hair textures learning to like their hair that they are born with and the many things they can do with their hair. There aren’t really any main characters in the story; the story just focuses on an audience of young African American girls. This book is a non-fiction book. Happy to Be Nappy surrounds empowering girls to know that they should be proud of their hair.
I personally would not use this text in the classroom because I don’t think it is approp
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
bell hooks, Happy to Be Nappy aims to teach little brown girls to love the natural state of their hair with its use of beautiful descriptive language. Large, clear lettering coupled with Chris Raschka’s simple illustrations of girls with varied hairstyles fill the pages. The simple styles of the drawings are perfect to feature the beauty of the swirling coiled hair that's the focus of the story. Each halo of hair is highlighted by a wash of watercolor transforming each one into a framed picture. ...more
CH - Marvin Childress
Author: Bell Hooks; Illustrator: Chris Raschka; Age: 4-8 (as a read aloud, or reading alone.) Happy to Be Nappy is a matter-of-fact book which simply describes different styles of African-American hair...primarily for girls. It takes something that is perceived as negative in the black community (nappy hair,) and it validates it.

I would recommend reading this to children and having a discussion about the negative meaning behind "nappy hair." The black community has suffered from this for years,
Tiah Keever
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great kid's book, and I gave it to my little sister when she had a lovely fro, so she would know, even though none of us had afros that it was totally fine to have different hair, to be happy within herself. Granted very young children already know this, but I figure its good to have a solid foundation. So, I'm hoping that as she ages-she's already 12, she'll keep that in mind. Its just a fun book anyhow, and I love Chris Raschka's illustrations. ...more
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE this book. When I bought a copy I heard bellhooks speak and it was one of the most empowering experiences I have ever had. I have an autographed copy I hope to give my happy to be nappy children someday. Empowering and beautiful book. Simple. and beautiful.
Shiloh Marshall
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We read this book at least 2 times a day.
Elizabeth Rittenhouse
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: final
Four Main categories of picking a diverse book:
1) Diversity and Range of Representation
a. There are many differences within a culture, race, age, gender,
2) Avoidance of Stereotyping
a. Microagression-
3) Language Considerations
a. Portrayal of culture authentically
b. Research language patterns, videos, authentic relationships with people in that culture, if unsure don’t read it!
4) The perspective of the Book

Things to think about on “what do we look for in a multicultural book”
5) accurate
6) see thei
Rochetta G
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book about nappy or course hair. This book is appropriate for children 3 and older. It is an inspirational book that invites children to embrace their differences. It has a rhythmic flow of which I even sung the book to my daughter. (She didn’t like that much.) The author uses juicy descriptive words such as soft, cotton, and smooth. All of these words, I feel, contrast the words people normally use to describe nappy hair. So that was enlightening. I like the illustrator uses bol ...more
Let me start off by saying I wish I had this book when I was a little girl. I probably would have loved my natural hair more. I feel into the trap that girls should have long straight hair to be considered cute. However if a girl had short and "nappy" hair she wasn't as cute. I'm still trying to figure out who set the standards for hair. I believe hair is an accessory. You can change it whenever you like or keep it just the way it is. I love that the books illustrations are amazing. From words t ...more
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educ-378
Ms. Bell Hooks did an excellent job connecting lots of feel good adjectives and senses to young girls of color, with their different textures of hair. This is a great read for diversity of young children. This book stages how girls are happy and proud to wear their in hair many unique styles. I would love to hear young girls and boys retell their experiences of their hair process. I was blessed to birth three boys. I have pictures with each of them crying with their first hair cut. As a young gi ...more
Chanae Wills
Happy to Be Nappy is a narrative about girlpie (I believe she is referring to black girls) hair. The author talks about the positive aspects of having nappy hair (ex. “Hair to comb, hair to brush, to twist and plait or just lie flat”). The author discusses why the different girls in the story are happy to be nappy. As a literacy teacher, I don’t think that I would use this book in the classroom. I think that it is a great book that is geared toward young black girls, but I think that it sends th ...more
Johna Brown
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about little girls hair. This story shows little girls how to accept and embrace their hair texture. The words and the illustrations are very creative. As a teacher, I would read this story to my students as a whole group. I would read it at the beginning of the school year to help students warm up to the new environment and embrace their own identities. Of course all of my students will be different and I want my students to be able to embrace themselves. Young girls are fascinate ...more
Allison Manwell
Happy to Be Nappy is a multicultural picture book that is accurate in its depiction of African American characteristics, like nappy hair. The character in the story is proud of her nappy hair, and she and her family praise their heritage that gave them the special hair. I think this story is great because it encourages all young girls to like their hair as it is. The book is a great multicultural story because it supports transformationism and represents culture from a positive and accurate pers ...more
Taylor Durant
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text-set
This story is about the different ways African American girls can wear their hair. It gives all types of examples, and ideas for little girls. The illustrator really captures the attention of the readers with its unique, childlike illustrations. I could definitely use this book in my classroom as a teacher. African American students who have the type of hair that is described in the story can learn to appreciate their hair, and figure out ways they can style their hair. The students who are not ...more
Brooke Graham
Happy to Be Nappy is a cultural picture book by Bell Hooks with beautiful illustrations by Chris Raschka. It deals with the beauty of hair that just happens to be nappy. It sheds a beautiful light on the differences and elegance of having Nappy. These little girls are proud of the way they are and wouldn't change the way they are just to have straight and fine hair.
African American, as well as Caucasian students can relate to this picture book in big ways. This teaches them that it is perfectly
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book because it brings back a bunch of awesome childhood memories for me. It does not have a solidified story line, but the book does bring its' young readers through a series of pictures that show all kinds of skin tones and hair textures. In an euro-centric society it is very important that families and people in general teach children,especially little girls, that minority groups may not fit generic beauty standards, but that they can still be beautiful. This book has not only a t ...more
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book presents a story about little girls’ hair. This story shows little girls how to accept their hair texture. The words and the illustrations are very creative, which definitely can engage my students. I would read this story to my students as a whole group. I feel like this book can be presented in the beginning of the school, where I can mention about their beautiful differences. I want to bring a message of a welcome environment, where all students can feel good about themselves, even
bell hooks we meet again. I know we didn't get along very well last time but I'm older now and I thought I owed you another shot, especially seeing as it's African American History month. So let's start with Happy to be Nappy.

This is a nice picture book that encourages black girls to be happy with their hair the way it is. As y'all know, I am all about my natural hair so I am a fan of this book. It's pretty cute and I love the art. All the different hair styles are so neat! I especially love th
Amanda Hughes
This isn't a book I could read over and over, but it did provide of a great message of self-acceptance. The author shows readers the strong bond between a mother and daughter and that parents are here to help us learn and accept the things we can't change. This story focuses on African American girls and the different hair textures of little girls. The watercolor-like illustrations are wonderful. ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-girl-magic
Happy to be Nappy is a feel-good book meant to boost the self-esteem of young girls with kinky hair making it the perfect add to my Black Girl Magic text set. Although the story and illustrations are somewhat overly simplistic I believe that it allows the children to view the hair and styles depicted how they like and use a bit of imagination and see themselves as the beautiful happy to be nappy ‘girlpies’ in the book.
Tia Roundy
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: controversial
This book is considered controversial because of the vocabulary used to describe the girl's hair in the book. The message the book sends is actually very positive, and I think it is important to promote positive body images even starting from a very young age. I have extremely curly hair, and I went through wanting to constantly straighten and hide my curls. I love the message that this book sends, even if the vocabulary used is semi-negative. ...more
Ayana Mishelle
this book dares to go there. HAIR !!! it is a great book to read aloud and open discussion about diversity and looking yourself and others just the way they are. My grandaughter has natural hair she loved thid book !!! This book is about loving the skin you are in can be used for synthezizing with other books about children loving themselves.
Cat Testino
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book that we covered in school with the children where I teach. It's a very multicultural district and we celebrate everyone's ethnicities & there qualities. Whenever a child sinks negatively about themselves we always go back to the books that remind them what makes them different and that that's good because if we were all the same the world would be boring. ...more
Fun, simple book that celebrates the happy styles of nappy hair a small girl can have. The one thing that bothered me about this book was the font. They used a free flowing cursive for the words and I kept reading "Hair" as "Flair" just because of the style.

Good for toddler or preschool storytimes.
Tessa Duncan
This story highlights the different kinds of natural hair types and the beauty behind them all. The different girls and their hair types are all shown as beautiful and joyous. This is an amazing book to talk about hair confidence and allowing young African American girls to feel represented within literature. A must buy!
Jun 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books little black girls should own. I discovered Happy To Be Nappy as an adult seeking out books with images of peole of color for my nephews. It was not a book for little boys, but I had to have it for myself.
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My 13 month old foster son loved this book. He liked to have it read to him, but would also sit and leaf through the pages of the board book. The only complaint I have is that it deals only with girls' hair, so an older boy child might not relate. Love the illustrations. ...more
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Bell Hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She has published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films and participated in ...more

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