cover image My Fade Is Fresh

My Fade Is Fresh

Shauntay Grant, illus. by Kitt Thomas. Penguin Workshop, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-38708-5

A Black child narrator in search of a new look for “my bushy, brownish, biggish hair” only wants one thing at the neighborhood barbershop: “THE FRESHEST FADE UP ON THE BLOCK!” But everyone at the bustling establishment has opinions about a fetching new hairstyle: one by one, they suggest an Afro, cornrows, “a tangly tousled top,” and “waves.... Or high-top fades.” In the end, the child gets their way, asking for more off the top until receiving a “clean-cut, classic curly crop. THE FRESHEST FADE UP ON THE BLOCK.” In playful, rhyming lines that give voice to a community’s fond, well-meaning chorus, Grant (My Hair Is Beautiful) pays tribute to the beautiful versatility of Black hair while emphasizing the importance of a kid staying true to themself. Giving special attention to texture and curl pattern, saturated art by Thomas (Stacey’s Extraordinary Words) changes perspective across each spread, picturing brown-skinned barbershop employees and patrons of many shades wearing a variety of hairstyles. It’s an affirming, communal take on a routine barbershop visit, starring a cool, collected child who knows their mind. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Chad W. Beckerman, CAT Agency. (Nov.)