Cover image for Happy to be nappy
Happy to be nappy
hooks, bell, 1952-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Celebrates the joy and beauty of nappy hair.
Reading Level:
AD 40 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.0 0.5 57043.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.1 1 Quiz: 20226 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Illustrated by Chris Raschka. From famed black feminist, social critic and adult author, bell hooks, and award-winning author and illustrator Chris Raschka, comes this celebration of the beauty and joy of nappy' hair. Ages 2-5.'

Author Notes

Bell Hooks was born Gloria Watkins on September 25, 1952. She grew up in a small Southern community that gave her a sense of belonging as well as a sense of racial separation. She has degrees from Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. She has served as a noted activist and social critic and has taught at numerous colleges. Hooks uses her great-grandmother's name to write under as a tribute to her ancestors.

Hooks writes daring and controversial works that explore African-American female identities. In works such as Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism and Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black, she points out how feminism works for and against black women. Oppressed since slavery, black women must overcome the dual odds of race and gender discrimination to come to terms with equality and self-worth.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 2^-5. With all the current fuss about Herron's Nappy Hair (1997), this picture-book celebration of happy nappy hair will be welcome. And who better to do it than the great black feminist writer hooks, whose adult books include the powerful memoir Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood (1996), and Raschka, whose fine picture books include Yo! Yes? (1993). This book is less a children's story than a greeting card with just one exuberant message; but adults and small children will enjoy sharing the joyful words and the playful color wash pictures with thick black lines. Every page shows that there are all kinds of ways for small girls to be nappy and happy, their hair "full of frizz and fuzz . . . smooth or patted down, pulled tight, cut close, or just let go . . . to let girls go running free." --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

This joyous ode to hair may well restart conversations that began last year with the controversy over Carolivia Herron's Nappy Hair. Bubbling over with affection, and injecting a strong self-esteem boost for girls, hooks's ebullient, poetic text celebrates the innate beauty and freedom of hair that's "soft like cotton,/ flower petal billowy soft, full of frizz and fuzz." Waxing poetic about "short tight naps" or "plaited strands all," hooks conjures all the lovely varieties of hairstyles that "let girls go running free." She sings the praises of "girlpie hair," subtly reinforcing her theme with a chorus of descriptive words like "halo" and "crown." She also evokes the intimate warmth of mother-daughter time√Ą"sitting still for hands to brush or braid and make the day start hopefully." A powerful, uplifting and, above all, buoyantly fun read-aloud, the text receives a superb visual interpretation by Raschka (Like Likes Like). A master of minimalism, he works here in nuanced, impressionistic watercolors and suggests his subjects with a quick stroke of the brush here, a graceful sweep of line there. Bolstering the theme of individuality, he provides softly shaded washes of varying hue that set off the dazzling array of hairstyles like an aura and create a rhythmic flow of color across the pages. Broad swoops conjure curls and braids, quick stripes of colors make barrettes, and tiny dots create beads. Though clearly of particular interest to African-American girls, the infectious energy and spirit of this volume will appeal to all readers. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-A short, rhythmic tribute to little girls with "nappy" locks. "Girlpie hair smells clean/and sweet/is soft like cotton,/flower petal billowy soft,/full of frizz and fuzz." Raschka's illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the brief, handwritten cursive text. They bring out the spirit behind hooks's writing and have great child appeal. With only watercolor-washed squares as background, the whimsical figures dance and caper. Reduced to the simplest childlike element, they nevertheless convey emotion and movement with the curve of a mouth or the jut of a hip. Using broad brush strokes, the artist creates fantastic hair that curls, whirls, and flows across the page or flips and piles over heads. This title is sure to invite comparisons to Carolivia Herron's Nappy Hair (Knopf, 1997). Hooks's text is gentler, a single, almost dreamy, literary voice. It is less personal than the lively call-and-response device found in Herron's book, which is full of the loving, yet pointed teasing of a large, close-knit family. Both authors, in their different ways, have written joyous celebrations that give hair a life of its own and encourage self-acceptance.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.