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Hair Love

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When mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to do his daughter’s hair in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestseller Vashti Harrison.

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When mommy does Zuri’s hair, she feels like a superhero. But when mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to step in! And even though daddy has a lot to learn, he LOVES his Zuri. And he’ll do anything to make her—and her hair—happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair—and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2019

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About the author

Matthew A. Cherry

2 books79 followers
Matthew A. Cherry is an American film director, writer, producer, and former American football player. He wrote and directed two independent films, The Last Fall, and 9 Rides, and is currently an executive at Monkeypaw Productions.

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5 stars
5,450 (69%)
4 stars
1,872 (23%)
3 stars
458 (5%)
2 stars
81 (1%)
1 star
33 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,342 reviews
Profile Image for Mariah Carey.
Author 54 books14.7k followers
October 23, 2020
I absolutely love this book, and so do my kids. This book has exactly the message I wish I had had as a child. I’m so glad it exists.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.2k followers
February 10, 2020
Good for Matthew Cherry, former NFL football player, whose animated version of this picture book was just awarded Best Animated Short, at the 2020 Academy Awards!

My family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books every year. This is book #15 (of more than 20) of 2019, and we thought it was sweet. The tale is a father-daughter story, where he tries (for the first time) to help his daughter get her hair the way she wants it. Mom walks in at the end, her own hair covered (without explanation, so we discussed whether she might be coming home from the hospital, or something).

Lyra (12) 3.5. Cute and simple, about a hard-working family letting their daughter express herself as she pleases [is this a message to Lyra's parents?! Hey! Be yourself, girl!] 👧. Sweet story, sweet art. Not my favorite book, but heart-warming and adorable and legit.

Hank (13): 3. ZYeah, liked it!

Harry (14): 4. I like how the dad is always trying to make his daughter happy and give her the best hairstyle for her.

Tara: 4. Way better than I expected. I figured it early on to be a "be proud of what you were born with" sort of thing, which it kind of is, but it's also about a helpful dad, a mom (probably) coming home from the hospital, and the hair stuff was really cool.

Dave: 4. Sweet dad-daughter story. Dad's already a "body art" guy as he has dreads and tattoos and seems muscled, so he is supportive for sure of body and hair style as self-expression. My idea is that when mom comes home, approving of all this beauty before her, she has her head covered, as she has lost her hair through chemo, so adds that layer, but it doesn't have to be seen that way, either. Just food for discussion. I liked it pretty well, the dreamy swirling art by Vashti Harrison matching the hairstyles as central to this one.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,792 reviews31.2k followers
December 11, 2019
This story hit home with me. I love it. When I was younger my hair was much more wild and difficult to tame and keep in check. It was curly and kinky and a whole lot of fun. I did love it. As I have aged, I have lost the kink and many of the curls and my hair is easy to tame know. I still love my hair, but I miss the volume I used to have.

This little girl has some great hair. She loves to shape it into different ways depending on what she is doing and how she feels. She can put it in puffs and be a superhero, or she can braid it and have a fancy tea party. She loves her wonderful hair and her family has what they call hair love. Her dad is amazing and he can help her style her hair. She is trying to get the perfect shape for her mommy. They figure it out in time and it’s perfect.

I find this a sweet little story of family love. The artwork is wonderful and a hint of magic dust thrown in. It’s perfect for who I am as a reader and fan.

My nephew is not into the magical realism that I love so much. This was just a girl and it was all about hair, no monster, no robots, no potty humor. Now, my nephew has some great hair too. He likes to leave it a little long and he gets this Einstein look. I love it. Now, his daddy doesn’t and he always likes to chop it off. I am with the nephew and I like that wild look. It goes with his personality. But, that was not enough for my nephew to connect with the characters. He gave the story 2 stars. He might not like them, but I have to keep trying new things with him.
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
692 reviews3,240 followers
February 23, 2019
Oh, this is darling! Zuri's hair "has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way."* It's a special day and Zuri wants an extra-special hairstyle to celebrate, but Mommy's away so she enlists Daddy's help. Talk about an adorable daddy-daughter duo! (And why is Zuri's dad such a hottie? Props to illustrator Vashti Harrison.)

Hair Love is a heartwarming celebration of love and patience, self-confidence and self-expression.
Daddy tells me it is beautiful.
That makes me proud.
I love that my hair lets me be me!

In funky braids with beads,
I am a princess.

And when my hair is in two puffs,
I am above the clouds like a superhero.

My hair even does magic tricks.
One day Rocky and I were playing
outside when along came the rain.

From large to small it went.
Presto! Just like that!

There's nothing my hair can't do!

*Note: Quotes taken from an Advanced Copy.
Profile Image for Andrea Fleury.
923 reviews70 followers
February 13, 2020
Simply adorable. I cried and I smiled. The ending was sweet a bit sad but great
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,396 reviews7,270 followers
April 8, 2021
This popped up ..... somewhere???? Give me a second - I’m a Boomer. Oh yeah, this was a recommendation on my hometown library’s Instagram and if you know me then you know if the librarian tells me to do something Imma do it.

While I have plenty of hair issues myself, obviously I don’t have the same types of problems black women have to deal with. In all honesty, as someone who becomes more aware each day of the types of privilege I have had allotted to me my entire life, I have to confess thinking about ethnic hair was never even on my radar until

However, once I saw it I couldn’t ever unsee it and really started noticing that, especially in corporate America, it is pretty much still frowned upon for a woman of color to express herself via her hairstyle. Basically, it’s as comedian Paul Mooney once said . . .

So books like these are super important and there should be a lot of them until little girls (and boys, duh, but this features a little girl) realize it’s okay to be whoever they want to be when it comes to their hair. The illustrations here get allllll the stars, but unfortunately the content was a little lacking. In this story Daddy is in charge of Zuri’s hairstyle for the day because Mommy has been away (apparently out of town? she comes back at the end with an overnight bag, but nothing is really explained). It all works out for both Zuri and Daddy, but why can’t Daddy just do her hair sometimes? I’m not a big fan of any responsibility being considered a “Mommy is the one who does that” kind of thing so this is getting 3 Stars simply because childcare should be 50/50.
Profile Image for Aliza Werner.
1,040 reviews89 followers
June 4, 2019
Five stars for my five stars! This book is EVERYTHING for everyone! Finally we are seeing modern Black representation about everyday families. This is more than Black girl hair. This is family love, gender roles, and celebration of oneself. Every detail...dad’s locs and tattoo, mom’s head wrap, a girl who can have a tea party and also wear a superhero cape, family photos of marriage, graduations, and generational love...is beautiful. Share with everyone you know!
Profile Image for Rod Brown.
4,964 reviews164 followers
November 26, 2019
Very sweet and cute with great art. As a former stay-at-home dad, I really appreciated seeing another father dealing with braiding and buns.
Profile Image for ReadAlongWithSue .
2,636 reviews170 followers
October 19, 2020

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This is such a fun, touching and heartwarming story.
I remember many years ago my friends hair. She was from Jamaica and I learnt early on the techniques she went through to adorn and enrich her hair and as she would put it “ make me presentable for the men imma gonna meet at large” always made me chuckle.

This is about a little girl whose dad is left in charge. His daughters hair he has to tackle each day.

Embrace your hair. As she embraced her dad.
This was such a loving story.
The graphics are beautifully done.
Profile Image for Deborah.
731 reviews47 followers
February 21, 2021
With bold, beautiful, and heartwarming illustrations, Zuri wants her kinky, coiled, and curly hair to be perfect for a special day. As her feline companion, Rocky, watches, her daddy rises to the occasion with love, humor, and determination. What an absolute gem!
Profile Image for LaDonna.
174 reviews2,452 followers
February 18, 2020
Let’s be honest. I’ve walked by Hair Love several times at my local Barnes & Noble. What did I know? I thought it was just another kids’ book about loving oneself and being proud of one’s African American heritage. Little did I know that there was more to the story. Fast forward to last week’s Oscars and the animated version of the story wins for Best Animated Short. Wow!!! Now, my interest is really piqued. It is time for me to get my hands on this book.

Yes, Hair Love is empowering. Yet, it is so much more. The combination of Matthew A. Cherry’s words and Vashti Harrison’s illustrations are simply amazing!! We see a beautiful and young Zuri embrace the strength and beauty in the different looks she possesses, depending on her hair style. (My favorite is the superhero with the Afro puffs). But, I truly felt the tugs at my heartstrings when Zuri and Daddy are working on her hair. It reminds me of when my husband used to “do” my daughter’s hair. There was a bond that developed there that I could never compete with.

Cherry’s work not only shares and depicts a relationship between a father and his daughter, he shows the love of one family—the father, mother and child—as well. Bravo.

Profile Image for DivaDiane.
919 reviews82 followers
September 12, 2020
I loved this book! It’s excellent in so many levels. Ziti has cool hair. She can do lots of things with it, but often (always?) needs help with it. There’s a special reason for wanting to do her hair up special today, so her father tries (not sure at this point where her mother is) and several attempts are Not Good, but then they find it and success!

Positive body image, involved fathers, independence, perseverance are some of the underlying positive messages that come through.

The illustrations are great!!
Profile Image for Lata.
3,441 reviews180 followers
July 28, 2020
I saw the short first, and both smiled and cried. This story is very slightly different, but still deals with a young girl’s beautiful hair and how happy and proud she is to be able to express different sides of her personality through different styles, and how getting her dad’s help for a particular and special look is important for her mother’s homecoming. A sweet and lovely story.
Profile Image for Lorraine.
428 reviews145 followers
May 31, 2020

My baby boy loved this story so much and the tattoos were a hit. He is growing an Afro and he is loving experience.

Thank you for such positive messaging especially around Afro hair, candy floss hair as my boy calls it.
Profile Image for Christy.
82 reviews30 followers
January 26, 2019
I read this with a smile on my face. Uber charming.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,083 reviews173 followers
June 20, 2019
Based upon a film of the same name, also written by Matthew A. Cherry, and due out later this year (2019), Hair Love is a sweet picture-book about a little African-American girl who is determined to have a very special hairdo for a very special occasion. Her father steps in to help, and after some trial and error, they produce just what she's been looking for...

There has been an uptick recently of picture-books featuring positive messages about black hair - think titles like Cozbi A. Cabrera's My Hair is a Garden , Sharee Miller's Princess Hair , or Derrick Barnes' Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut - but Hair Love is something more. Although its does contain some positive affirmation - Zuri's hair is beautiful and versatile, the styles she uses reflecting her activities and moods - it is just as much a family story. Specifically, a loving father-daughter story, something not seen as frequently in picture-books, I feel, as other parent-child combinations. I found Cherry's narrative engaging and ultimately heartwarming, and thought that illustrator Vashti Harrison's artwork was charming. I particularly loved her depiction of Zuri's cat (small surprise), although all of the characters were expressively realized. Recommended to anyone looking for books about little African-American girls and their hair and/or the loving bond between fathers and daughters.
Profile Image for Licha.
732 reviews106 followers
September 8, 2019
I loooved this. This was so cute. I love that this was about a dad caring for his little girl's hair and finding out how hard it can be to give her the perfect hairstyle she wants for a very special occasion. It warmed my heart to see the family love in such a short amount of pages.

I immediately finished this and forced my daughter to read this.

The artwork is adorable and I loved the colors used. It's such a pretty book to look at. Loved all the hairstyles the author gave our main girl.

When we find out what the special event is, I didn't pay attention to a detail here, but my daughter did and it made me wonder if It's possible and would give the story a very different perspective. I think I could leave that possibility open for my own interpretation of the ending.

I want this book!
Profile Image for Jamie (TheRebelliousReader).
2,766 reviews32 followers
March 20, 2020
5 stars. I have no interest in having kids and my niece is twelve and would give me a dirty look if I even suggested a picture book to her but this was so incredibly beautiful. The artwork, the story, the melanin, the love of natural hair, Zuri. All of it was just so delightful. I'm not gonna lie, I got a little emotional and full of happy tears at the end because it was just so sweet. Loved it and because my niece has natural hair as well I'm still going to recommend it to her even though she's going to give me the side eye.
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 16 books480 followers
February 19, 2020
Once upon a time, back in November, I was browsing through new books at the library when I ran across a picture book that looked ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. ❤️ I loved the illustration style, and the story looked like a super sweet portrayal of family life (and a celebration of some pretty awesome hair). I added this book to my overly tall stack of library books and brought it home.

We passed it around the whole family, and Mom even read it aloud to share the love. 😄 I really enjoyed the story and–I’ll say it again–the illustrations. Seriously, all the heart eyes. 😍😍

(There's also an animated short film of the story that is really, really adorable and just won an Oscar, so be sure to check that out.)
Profile Image for Laurie • The Baking Bookworm.
1,350 reviews356 followers
September 13, 2020
I'm very much a reader who can be enticed by a beautiful cover and the artwork for Hair Love caught my eye instantly at the library where I work. So naturally it had to come home with me! But this book is so much more than its gorgeous artwork by illustrator Vashti Harrison.

Written by former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry, this is a sweet story about the bond between dads and daughters, the beauty of natural hair, and family. I love the Black family representation, culture, and gender roles as little Zuri learns, through her dad's trial and error hairstyle attempts, that she can express herself through her various hairstyles.

With stunning illustrations, a wonderfully empowering message that encourages young readers to embrace who they are, and a sassy feline sidekick, this is a charming and joyful story for all families to read.
January 3, 2020
Beautiful! Beautiful! In Matthew A. Cherry's story, Hair Love, a girl discovers the magnificence and beauty of her hair. From puffs to twists to a giant Afro, she sings the praises of her hair's ability to change styles whenever she chooses.

With the help of her father, he makes a special day even more so as he combs and styles her hair (albeit with some trial and loveable error).

I recommend this story for black children to love their tresses in a world that does not always welcome its glory. But, I also recommend this story to those wanting to learn and enjoy the locks of their friends and neighbors.

Profile Image for Tanesha.
307 reviews
January 29, 2019
OMG this book!!! Not only does it speak directly to my 2 girls, but it's for ANY parent and child who have struggled with doing hair, often to amusing results. Such a cute and heartwarming book, and beautifully illustrated. As there are so few picture books that feature Daddy as one of the main characters, I highly recommend this one for families. Loooved it!
(Note: through my job, I was able to read the advance of this book. It pubs in April 2019).
Profile Image for Aisha.
126 reviews16 followers
November 13, 2019
This book was everything yes to black dad and daughter relationships 💕💕💕, loving black hair!!!! and when the mother came home in a head wrap I just 🥺😭😭🙌🏾 I would love to have a family like this one day 🤩🥰🥰.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,342 reviews

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