Review: Mira’s Curly Hair by Maryam al Serkal and Rebeca Luciani
Mira doesn’t like her curly hair. She wants it to be beautiful and straight like her mama’s. One day, Mira and Mama go for a walk and the rain comes down. Little by little, the curls return to Mama’s hair and Mira sees how beautiful curls really are.
A touching book about the relationship between appearance and identity.
Mira’s issue is one which lots of children will relate to, from an early age right through to teens. Images of perceived beauty are everywhere and they can result in peer pressure to look one particular way. When I was a pre-teen is was all about very straight hair. Very straight and blonde was better. There was also lots of discussion about straight noses and facial symmetry. What I didn’t understand at the time was that this idea which was rife in my school began with Hollywood. With the catwalks. With the narrow images of beauty available to young people at the time.
This is particularly damaging when children aren’t seeing people from their own culture or people of many cultures and the many kinds of beautiful in the world. Thankfully, social media, for all its faults, is helping to fight this because suddenly there are photographs and hashtags which celebrate curly hair and fuller figures and people of every kind. It is also important that books reflect the diversity of the world from an early age. Mira’s Curly Hair shows how important it is not to look for the kind of beauty we see elsewhere, but to celebrate the things which are beautiful about ourselves.
Bright blocks of colour and beautiful patterns bring this to life and add to the feeling that this is all about celebration.
A book which offers readers a new way to define and search for beauty.
Thanks to Lantana Books for my gifted copy of Mira’s Curly Hair. Opinions my own.