Review: My Hair Grows Like a Tree by Tamika Phillip

From a recent trip to the library with Baby Girl (follow me on Instagram)

My daughter has a recent obsession with trees. On a recent trip to the library, she checked out pocket guides, field guides, and other books on trees. Not so recent, is her fascination with hair.  I tell her almost daily how special her “puffy” hair is, but with each commercial telling her how this product or that product “removes tangles” and can make hair “smooth, straight, and shiny”, the battle to get her to truly love her hair is a constant one.

I wrote a picture book for just my daughter (soon to be published) about how versatile and beautiful her hair is, and while I was working on the illustrations one day, I received an email from Trinidadian author Tamika Phillip.  She had written My Hair Grows Like a Tree, a book about hair, and wanted to know if I’d like to take a look at it.  Well, of course I did! It is basically a book that sparks discussions between parents and children about their hair and what makes it special.  It’s not just about hair though. One of the things we enjoyed most about the book was that it uses analogies to really get the kids thinking about their hair and their skin and how they can be relates to the shapes, colors, textures of things present in nature.

Illustrations by Tamika Phillip and Janessa McKell

Tamika Phillip and digital artist Janessa McKell have done an excellent job creating a study guide and conversation starter for families, but not just families of African descent.  Families of all backgrounds can discuss the differences in their hair and the difference in the hair of others.  For families with hair that grows straight, it is like a letter from a girl with different hair than they have that says “Your hair grows like this, but MY hair grows like this.”  I would recommend this book for teachers who wish to discuss understanding of other cultures and ethnic traits in people of different backgrounds – even if they don’t have children representative of those backgrounds in their classrooms.

Illustrations by Tamika Phillip and Janessa McKell

I have had this book for a few months now, but honestly, it has taken me a few months to get through all of the questions and answers. Even though it is not a thick book, My Hair Grows Like a Tree will probably take you a while to get through with your child.  Each page has several questions that will have you going outside, searching the internet, and traveling to libraries and museums in search of answers.

Illustrations by Tamika Phillip and Janessa McKell

About Tamika Phillip: Tamika Phillip was born and raised under the sun in Trinidad and Tobago. She studied Communication Arts at college in New York and has travelled, lived and worked in the United States, Jamaica, Italy, Ethiopia, London, Egypt – and presently lives in Turkey. Throughout her travels, her hair has always been a mystery to others. One day, her foreign housemate blurted out, ‘’Tami, I don’t understand your hair?’’. Upon reflection, she created a simple response to questions about her hair – ‘’My hair grows like a tree and your hair flows like a waterfall.’’ With this response, women, men and children smiled, laughed and blushed. These experiences inspired and sparked in her, a mission to create an experience for young girls to see the Earth in them and define their own hair. In her words, ‘’self knowledge and self definition is one of the greatest gifts that parents can give to their young girls.’’

Author: Tamika Phillip on Google+ | Blog | Purchase the Book

Digital Artist: Janessa McKell on Google+ | Twitter

Click here to find out how where to purchase AND to get a free printed copy through the month of March!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. As always, my opinions are my own.