Beyond the Book: Hair Love

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry & Vashti Harrison

Book Summary

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison celebrates natural hair and the relationship between a father and daughter. Whether she’s wearing it in an afro, puffs, or braids, Zuri loves her hair and her dad affirms her beauty. When a special occasion comes around (mommy’s return home), Zuri and her dad need a special hairstyle. After several fails, they turn to a video tutorial to come up with a suitable style.


4 – 8 years

Pre-reading activity:

Discuss what you see on the cover of the book and ask your little one to predict what the story may be about. Have a discussion about your child’s hair and the different styles that can be done. If your child has short hair, you can talk about styles they like on others.

During the story:

Have your little one predict the text based on the illustrations. Provide definitions and connections for any of the target vocabulary words listed below that may be unfamiliar. Ask questions throughout the story to help your child comprehend what’s being read. Have your child repeat unfamiliar words.

Example Questions:

  • What do you think it means for hair to have a mind of its own?
  • Zuri is proud of her hair. Tell me about a time you felt proud?
  • Zuri says her braids are funky, which means they are super stylish. What’s another meaning for the word funky?
  • What does Zuri put on to make her look like a superhero?
  • What caused Zuri’s hair to go from large to small?
  • Have you ever been so excited you couldn’t sleep?
  • Why did Zuri think it was a good idea to do her hair on her own?
  • How did Zuri feel when her dad’s styles didn’t turn out perfectly?
  • What are some tools used to do your hair?

Target Vocabulary:

very tightly curled hair

very happy or pleased because of something you or someone you know has done

very stylish

suddenly, as if by magic

very tired

a person who has received special training or education for a specific skill

to pull hair back and to make it look smooth and shiny using water and/or hair products.

a hair tool with wide-spread teeth used to make hair bigger

to smile happily


Have your little one re-read the book in their own words using the illustrations. Discuss a time where you or your child had to get your hair styled in a special way.

Play-Doh Self Portraits


Play-Doh Self Portraits

Materials: All About Me template, Play-Doh, crayons/colored pencils

Using a free All About Me template, we created our own self portraits. First, color the face in a shade that represents your skin tone. Next, we used various shades of play-doh to recreate our own hair styles.

I have short coils, Maya has twists, and Dad has a low-cut fade with a beard. Check out our styles in the photo above! It was so much fun to come up with these looks. Unfortunately, we did not have brown or black play-doh, but I think they still look pretty awesome.

It was a pleasure being a part of the Hair Love Blog Tour sponsored by Penguin Random House and Penguin Young Readers! It’s so important for fathers and daughters to be able to bond in different ways, including spending time together while styling hair. I’m looking forward to checking out the short film Matthew A. Cherry produced that inspired this book. Hair Love will be released on May 14, 2019 and you can pre-order on Amazon right now!

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