Book Review: Can I Touch Your Hair by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Can I Touch Your Hair by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Publishing date: January 1, 2018 by Carolrhoda Books.

Available for preorder

Ages 8 and up

(I received an ARC of this book for a fair review. I was not paid for the review. However, I am an Amazon Affliliate and if you click on the link and make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

friendship

Conversations about race at any age is difficult. It is a topic often avoided with kids because of the worry they aren’t old enough to handle the intricate topic. “Can I Touch Your Hair” provides a starting point for deeper conversations in our schools, our families and with our friends. The authors handle cultural differences and new friendships with sensitivity.

The writing and illustrating teams gave each character and picture its own distinct voice and style through free style poetry. This is the first picture book I have read using this technique, and I enjoyed its fresh approach to the picture book genre.

The book stayed away from stereotypes of each culture, and highlighted the fact they exist. Its universal theme of fitting in makes the book a relatable for everyone. Each of the characters struggles to find his or her place in the community they live in and find friendship in the last place they expected to.

Although the concepts are sophisticated, parents and teachers shouldn’t shy away from the book. Use the book  as a discussion starter about race and our similarities and cultural differences.

“Can I Touch Your Hair” shows no matter our perceptions we are all a part of the same community.

Try It At Home

reading together

Reading aloud should never stop. This book is a perfect read aloud book for older kids. Research shows that fluency improves when kids hear books being read aloud even if the child reads independently. The back and forth nature of Can I Touch Your Hair, makes it perfect for a read aloud. Your child can practice reading with emotion and pauses and learn from you as you read the same way.

poetry

Poetry aids self-expression and builds creative writing skills. Poetry isn’t only a great way to express emotions, it is a great way to build reading and writing skills. Free style poetry is a great way to introduce creative writing to kids because it doesn’t have the rules of other types. We often think of poetry as having to rhyme and this book is a perfect example of creativity at work. Write poems with your child about what is important in his or her life. Emotions she might have a hard time expressing or places where he feels insecure. Don’t stop there! Haiku’s are a great way to connect with nature and writing and are fun to produce. Poetry doesn’t have to be intimidating as the authors demonstrate.

letter writing

Rekindle the art of letter writing. Feeling different or out of place happens to all of us and as kids age they have a harder time telling us what they are feeling and what is happening in his or her life. A friend of mine when my kids were young suggested sharing a diary that the child can write in and the parent can respond to. It gives kids a chance to let out the emotions they have a hard time discussing and gives us as parents time to think through our response. Added benefits are increasing narrative skills through the letter writing or diary format and handwriting practice.

Try these Books:

Tune in tomorrow when Building Future Readers interviews the authors Charles Waters and Irene Latham about the book!

 

 

What books do you read to begin a conversation about race and cultural differences and similarities?

Happy Reading

Upcoming Releases I look Forward to Reading

The one part of library work I miss the most is getting my hands on brand new books. It takes a lot more effort to keep on top of upcoming releases. Publications for publishers help, Amazon and others, but it isn’t the same as getting my hands on the books and flipping through them.

That being said, there are several book releases in the next several months that I can’t wait to read. I hope the list inspires you for your upcoming holiday shopping for the little readers in your life.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the picture provided it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

I love this series. It highlights so many diverse historical figures in an approachable way. A great way to introduce your young reader to nonfiction. Available on 1/16/2018

 

 

 

We all need space to calm our minds and bodies and I love having a resource guide that children will enjoy and relate to. This would make a great holiday gift! Available on 12/05/2017

 

 

 

The title and cover attracted me to this book. Another great holiday gift idea for the girls and boys in your life! Available 12/05/2017

 

 

 

 

I know Matt De La Pena’s work as a young adult writer and I was excited to see that he has written a picture book to introduce new readers to his body of work. Available 1/09/2018.

 

 

 

Fairly sure Sandra Boyton never goes out of style. My kids ADORED her books throughout their baby and preschool years. This makes a perfect gift for the holidays or buy for a long Thanksgiving road trip to grandmother’s house. Available 11/17/2017.

 

 

As a librarian in an inner city neighborhood I always struggled to find books with diverse characters. I appreciate that more books are being published and hope the it continues. This is a book that all kids will relate to. Another great holiday gift idea! Available 11/21/2017.

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love Click, Clack, Moo? Another collaboration from Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin sure to bring smiles and laughs to your child’s face. Available 12/5/2017.

 

 

 

There have been a lot of news articles and blog posts about teaching our kids grit. I love this series of books from Cloverleaf that teach life skills outside what was available when I was a kid like sharing, lying, kindness. A book that will help our youngest leaders build confidence and self esteem in a healthy way. Available 1/1/2018.

 

 

What books are you looking forward to reading this winter?

Happy Reading