New Kids’ Books Put Black Heroes and Their Hair Centre Stage

New kids’ books star Black heroes and their natural hair to help tackle underrepresentation

Despite 33.5% of the UK’s school population being from ethnic minority backgrounds, just 5% of the children’s books published in the UK in 2019 featured ethnic minority protagonists, and only 2% feature Black heroes.

On a mission to help make a difference, a group of Black creators, including award-winning British author Trish Cooke, have joined forces to launch three cute and delightful new books inspired by classic fairy tales, with Black protagonists at the heart of the stories.

The HairyTales titles

Inspired by classic fairy tales, the ‘HairyTales’ series includes Rapunzel-inspired, Zel Let Out Your Hair, (narrated by Lexi Underwood) which has been transformed into an animation and shows that shows that Black hair in all its shapes and forms; from afro to braided crown, is a superpower and a whole world of adventure. Then there’s The Puppet Who Wanted Hair – a Pinocchio-inspired puppet who wants to look like all the other children who come in his makers’ toy shop. After trying all the different hairstyles, he realises he feels best when he’s true to himself. Finally Jackson and the Hair Stalk, based on Jack and the Beanstalk, shares the message that, if you show love and kindness to others, good things will come your way.

HairyTales x Tangle Teezer: narrated by Lexi Underwood

Tangle Teezer and Woke Babies commissioned the series after Tangle Teezer’s research revealed nearly half (46%) of the Black children in the UK don’t see anyone who looks like them in the books they read. 

Further findings showed that three quarters (75%) of Black parents in the UK are reading more often to their children since the pandemic started. And the majority (59%) said that where Black characters are included in books, TV and films, the representations of Black characters are often negative and rife with stereotypes.

The three HairyTales books were written by British author Trish Cooke, illustrated by Angela Corbin and published by Woke Babies, the UK’s first and leading Black children’s subscription box and publisher dedicated to getting racially diverse literature in the hands of more children around the world.

Each book comes as a gift set available through the Tangle Teezer website. Jackson and the Hair Stalk and The Puppet Who Wanted Hair (£18 each) come with The Wet Detangler hairbrush. Zel Let Out Your Hair (£22) includes The Wet Detangler and the on-the-go styling and finishing brush, the mirrored Compact Styler.

Good reads…

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