I have always loved long curly hair and as a teenager I used to draw girls with flowing tresses (we did not have he phrase “slayed tresses” in Ireland back then). My own hair is fine, uber-straight and incapable of holding any kind of curl or kink. So drawing curls was the closest I got. And photographing Barbies for BlackHair magazine.
But not everyone who is capable of curls wears their hair curly. There are plenty of reasons for that – which I won’t go into here – but part of it has to do with confidence.
If you think your child might be a naturalista who would like to wear their hair in a natural afro then a book featuring BIG HAIR might guide their journey. When kids are young it’s all about self-image and empowerment. And that’s where books come in. Some books are not specifically about hair but feature a character with a natural style. Most are in the 3 and upwards age-range.
So let’s go. Here is a list of the Top 15 best big hair books for children.
1.Big Hair Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates Most of my book choices feature a child of African descent living outside of Africa and therefore surrounded by European hair. In this book a chirpy little girl faces that situation head on with her poem.
“I’ve got big hair and I don’t care And even though the kids may stare I lift my hands up in the air And smile and say… I love my hair”
I’m mentioning Crystal Swain-Bates again because she has made natural hair something of a cause. Let Amazon guide you to books like Naturally Me, Black Fairy Tales, SuperMommy and many others where the covers depict fabulous fulsome black hair
This book has a Jamaican little girl with Afro puffs on the cover. On the back cover the same girl in her contemporary clothes is seen slapping away happily on African drums. As part of the Irish diaspora I appreciate books that make other people feel at home in all the countries they identify with.
The companion The Alphabet with Bella has artwork of her taking part in what I think is the Notting Hill Carnival waving her British and Jamaican flags and wearing a glorious feather crown. Art is by Katlego Kgabale(Illustrator)
Check out the gorgeous mother in this book with her skinny jeans and natural fro. There is a sweet picture off the little girl sleeping with her hair in a silk scarf as she dreams of an exiting future visiting the Paris, Cuba and Africa. Daveia Odoi is the illustrator.
The author made up this bedtime story to give her daughter, Paris, pride in her hair. the little girl had noticed her hair was different from her schoolmates so mom stepped in! Tyrus Goshay is the Illustrator.
This is my only book with a boy on the cover. (I’ll fix that when I do my blog about books with locs and braids). Mike is always answering questions about being mixed. He knows he’s perfect because this is what his parents say:
Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light: “We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.”
There was very little by way of a preview on Amazon so I hopped over to the author’s website – This small and carefully curated site is a delight , well worth a look. It has elegant, girlie art, three dancing bunny rabbits, prints for hanging and a colouring book. And Mechal ships to Europe.
My own book has a strong theme of natural hair. The lead character Bekki the Fairy has a crazy do (don’t ask) but the hairstyle you see most in the book is the loose natural style of Geeky Mikita the genius baby-sitter. I updated the cover to add more of the baby-sitters.
The stylist gave Mikita a grey streak in honour of Albert Einstein. The other models wore their hair as they always had done – I hade worked with the models for years pior and each girl brought her own style – braids for Ruby, natural for Jada-Kai and with extensions for Keysha.
At the back of the book a real life scientist, Mumbi, talked about black hair and gave all the baby-sitters hair advice. There are jobs for female scientists in the hair industry. Black women entrepreneurs played big role in the products we have today. In amongst all the silly scenes in my book is sneaky positive message!
This book really is ‘last but not least’. Urbantoons started following me on Instagram just as I was finishing up this blog. I’m happy he did! He hails from Mali and has wonderful items (dashikis and hi-tops!) on his website celebrating ethnicity, identity and the spread of multiculturalism.
Barbie has done it again. Here is another toy that goes beyond being “just a doll”. This male doll with a newly sculpted African American face and a braids and bun hairstyle is pre-selling out fast on Amazon. He is already showing up on eBay. Most ebay sellers are from the US and many are willing to ship abroad. Thanks!
This doll has just shown up with all the other LOOKS doll on barbie.com. Have a look at the photography! He has not come to Amazon UK , yet.
If you are in Europe and looking on Amazon then the full title of this Ken doll is “Barbie Signature Looks Ken Doll (Brunette with Braids & Bun Hairstyle)”. He was designed by Bob Greening. he has and a sturdy articulated body- ideal for posing for photos. He sold out on Amazon and is back now. Hurry, this guy will appreciate in value and, money aside, he is a beautiful doll. When is the last time that dear old Kenneth Sean Carson was this in-demand?
Just for the heck of it I will post a pic of Malibu Ken.
So Hot So Cool
I am very happy to have found a source for this extraordinary black doll – he is Adonis from JHD Fashion dolls. It took some detective work to find out where to buy this doll but look at him! Isn’t he extraordinary.
My blog gets seen in the UK as well as in the US so I will share the results of my UK treasure hunt with you. Some dolls are only available through dealers and for Irish and UK ccollectors this can be frustrating as we wait for a doll to appear on ebay – or do without. That’s why i was delighted to find Simon ‘s Dollstoysngifts. Simon is in Britain and has made a number of fabulous dolls available. He has American Girl, I’m a Girly Girl and Barbie – all ranges that include black toys.
Adonis is notable because of his dramatic look. He is a 1/6 scale figure. I said this would make him a good Barbie boyfriend but perhaps one of the Integrity Toys dolls would suit him better.
The dollstoysngifts site has scooped up dolls from conventions and other places and if you see something you like, move quickly. He also has t-shirts for doll lovers!
I’m now going to link to the parent site to share a list of US dealers. I found Adonis by google So Hot So Cool and that let me to Mizi Doll and JHD Fashion Doll – if you click this link it should bring you to more familiar names. Barbie collectors may know Marl & B already. Adonis may be Hard To Find but that’s all part of the fun.
Introducing a stunning new doll from Australia. Bindi Merinda is one of six dolls by GlamorOZ dolls – she is a Australian Aborigine 18inch figure and has featurred in the Black Dolls Rock Facebook page. Look to see how Son of Ellis has styled her. She can be bought on the GlamourOZ Dolls site.
I will add an Amazon link to a phenomenal new doll – Dr Maya Angelou. I will blog in detail later but this doll is selling fast so here is an Amazon link. The doll has been selling at speed from Target and Walmart. Her price has jumped on Amazon but I think this is down to her massive popularity. Collectors love her but imagine introducing a child to Maya Angelou.
The Skipper babysitters Inc range is doing some very appealing little baby sets at the moment – babies with accessories, babies with sitters and many more. The sets have huge appeal for little kids who want to add babies and toddlers to their Barbie family as well as Instagrammers decorating thier nursery diaramas.
The sets starts at low prices andshow that Mattel are always trying to lets lkids of all colours see themselves in their dolls. This baby is a very affordable little addition to a toy box.
American Girl – a very important doll
This doll is an institution. An 18 inch doll, telling America’s history, herstory and modern stories through dolls and books. As I understand it the doll even has her own shops in the US and the website is. lavish production. So for US readers, you do not need me to tell you about AmercanGirl.com . For anyone in Europe, I am happy to say I have found a dealer in the UK. Dollstoysngifts has some of the 35 anniversary dolls available. I will do a mini blog about Dollstoysngifts as the owner Simon has a good eye for black dolls
American Girl appears on Amazon in many books and some dolls but she was bought by Mattel and she has very very own lavish website. Addy was the first black doll and she has been reissued for the 35 year anniversary. The dolls are making Herstory with accurate high quality reissues of the original dolls who come with their own proper storybooks. The WellieWishers and Bitty Babies are part of the brand too.
My latest mini blog featured a bridal doll from the Barbie shop on Amazon. She is. not listed as a bride but as Barbie 60th Anniversary doll. Here is a beautiful bridal doll for adults or kids.. I have done a mini blog about what makes her special and later I will do a blog about her very lovely face sculpt names “Mbili”. That face was used in the recreation of the first black Barbie from 40 years ago.
Special facial sculpts often feature on early Holiday Barbies.
Why would you buy an old Holiday Barbie? This doll is from 2011 and I love her. The gown has an Irish vibe to it. Is she an Afro-Irish girl?
Head over to my micro blog about a doll I had been ignoring – L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Fashion Dolls -I will add details later today of this Doll of the Year winner.
Do you know what a blind bag i? These big eyed ladies slipped under my radar but kids love ’em.
This Black Label Puma Barbie doll came out in 2018 and i will use her to make a point about buying dolls online. I have removed the Amazon affiliate link as she went to 300 dollars and then sold out!
This doll is on ebay and the prices are between 150 and 300. She is a spectacular doll. I have done. a micro blog on Puma Barbie to point out her unique features – a rare facial sculpt, exceptional clothing design, the link with Puma and the fully articulated body. And she’s just gorgeous!
A new curvy doll – Wildhearts Crew
I am putting in this affiliate link as this Birthday Barbie is so pretty- but this blog is about finding dolls that are doing their bit inclusion, big and small companies, UK and US and one Dutch.
A musical theatre Disney Halloween black Werewolf doll with natural curly, coily hair – Willa Lykensen played by Chandler Kinney makes a notable doll even if you don’t watch Zombies 2.
Disney’s Willa Lykensen doll is Barbie sized doll – almost an action figure – but the attention to detail- moonstone necklace and rock chick clothing make her a gorgeous doll for collectors as well as kids. Mattel must have had some fun with the styling here – just look at hose tats! I have done a mini blog about Willa here.
While researching the Zombies I came a across a fabulous UK store Bentzens Emporium who create mini videos to showcase their dolls. Here is a link to their Zombies videos on YouTube
Anyone who knows me probably knows that I own far too many dolls for someone of my age. My collection of Christie, Wesley, Madison, Nikki and other black Barbie dolls is being taken out of the cupboard for self-isolation.
Below are two notable dolls of 2020, the Fresh Squad men and the Yara Shahidi. I will say more in my mini blogs.
Today I am showing the most representative doll on the market. The dollpreneurs who develop black dolls love it when a parent says “My daughter loves the doll. It looks just like her.” Well how about a doll that IS her.
For the people who ready my blog here’s a tip off. The people at Budsies are taking orders now for their custom dols where you send in a pic and get a doll make in your likeness. The dolls are plush dolls and the artist s need tome to physically make them. This is Christmas gift pricing – around the 100 dollars mark but if you want to show a girl a dolly that is everything she dreams of being then this will deliver the WOW factor. I will micro blo about this soon. I am saying hurry.
The ultimate representative doll – Budsies
Diverse Dolls 4 All
This is a UK site with the mix of dolls you’d expect from the UK. The company names its black dolls with care and respect. As a writer I loved that Malorie Blackman has a doll named in her honour.
Disney Princess Tiana
Princess Tiana is an important doll – if we are talking about representation then that powerful group of Disney Princess really needs to have a black member.
The smallest of girls can cuddle a plush Tiana doll and the Disney company has the might to provide Princess Tiana as a black doll for al ages. She matters.
There are multiple Tiana dolls so I will just note this new comfy Tiana with natural curly, coily hair. She has always had an up do but the natural hair movement inspired a new approach to the doll’s hair.
I found this site when i was looking for Zuree the Patwa talking doll. Kunaka Kids has a fabulous mix of “African and Caribbean Inspired” accessories, stationery, book and, of course, dolls. There is even a music box with a tiny Nia ballerina! Very desirable and cute!
The the doll range is extensive. The African dolls have African names and clothing and come in many different sizes – soft rags dolls, Barbie sized girls and sturdy little girl dolls. I will highlight the 14.5 inch Molemo dolls, proudly wearing their tribal colours- Xhosa, Ndebele and more.
The Zuree doll with her fiesty Jamaican voice box can be seen and heard here. She comes from London but I suspect her heart is in Jamaica.
These flashy 12inch dolls are beloved by adult collectors. The collections of high end fashion dolls include the Ru Paul doll. The Fashion Royalty collection, which is updated every year, has dramatic characters with names like Dasha D’Amboise and Baroness Agnes Von Weiss.