Every night I read a story to Loki before settling down to cosleep with him. Earlier in the evening I did a quick refresh of his curly hair and he asked if we could read the curly book.
I’ve been wanting to talk about this curly book for a while but struggled to find the right words…
The book is called Mira’s Curly Hair and is written by Maryam Al Serkal and illustrated by Rebeca Luciani. The book is a gentle encouragement for curly kids everywhere to embrace their hair and it is a good wee read.
In brief there is this wee curly girl, Mira, longing for straight hair like her Mum. It just about rhymes and has some fun illustrations of the shenanigans she gets up to trying to straighten it herself. One day her Mum gets caught in the rain and her straight smooth hair is no more. Mira is in awe at the beauty of her Mum’s curls and from then on they both embrace them and live happily ever after… or whatever, the book doesn’t go that far!
My eldest (also curly haired) read it when we first got it. Edward is quite matter-of-fact and called the Mum out immediately for being a fake because she straightened her hair. He asked me if she’d not gotten caught then would she have carried on straightening her hair?
Er… I simply don’t know! It did prompt an interesting discussion though.
I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely prepared for this take on it. I just hoped they’d see a character in a book embracing curly hair and think it was pretty cool! Trust my 10 year old to provoke such a discussion!
I’ve tried to teach the boys to embrace their natural hair, but not to the point they think negatively towards those that don’t. I mean, I dye mine blue on a regular basis… there ain’t nothing natural about that is there?! I’m certainly not trying to hide the fact it’s brown!
I explained to the boys that I spent years trying to straighten mine too. Edward was quite surprised. I skimmed over the facts but gave him the basics (don’t want to ruin all the joys of high school for him now do I?!)
I’ve shed countless tears, had the most horrific hairdressing experiences, got laughed at and teased daily whilst at school. I was also regularly accused of wearing a wig! Looking back with adult eyes it’s not even funny the shit I put up with but there it is.
Having curly hair is one thing, embracing it is something else.
When you’ve spent far too much time hiding in the girls toilets at school cutting gum and spit balls out of your frizzy wig it takes it toll. There were times when the boys in registration would cut chunks out of my hair themselves and save me the bother. There was a fun science class where they tried to set it on fire, oh how the teacher laughed…
Tying it back and hiding it worked for a while, I even cut it all off once but that was a bit of a disaster. However, embracing it was not something I managed until much later in life.
I explained to Edward it’s not fake; it’s not even wanting to be like everyone else. It’s wanting to fit in just well enough that no one takes the piss out of you.
But no, it shouldn’t be like that. You shouldn’t be made to feel like you have to do that.
I’m 36 now and I still have my moments where I wish it would be a bit more “normal”… thankfully my coping mechanism for these moments is to dye it whatever colour the kids vote for.
Nowadays folk often comment they wish they had my hair and it’s bittersweet if I’m honest. Folk don’t know the half of it. Curly kids to a certain age get all the compliments. Then at some point it stops and then what is socially acceptable comes in and wild and free curly hair is out.
Reject the unfamiliar and all that. It’s really very sad.
As adults the way you style, the type of cut, the colour you have all says a lot about you. I dearly wish mine didn’t say “tainted with shame, gum and spit balls” hidden in an Autumn colourway!
It’s just hair!
There might be so much hair on my head it keeps me warm in the colder months but mentally it has broken me more than once. Actually seeing this written down makes me feel a little pathetic but this is one of those if you know you know things!
I think?! I hope?!
Back to the lesson
My boys are lucky. At their school there are lots of curlies. There are a few boys with long hair too, which is lovely to see. Most importantly my boys are already embracing their curls and I definitely won’t be doing what Mira’s Mum did and be hiding mine away (mostly because I just cannot be arsed, I mean who has got time for that frankly have you seen how much hair I’ve got?!)
All of my boys can head bang pretty impressively watching Kerrang (which is apparently their only goal in life right now) and have no desire to hide their curls away (or cut them off!) and I hope that’s the way it will stay … I might try and convince them that a trim might be an idea at some point but we’ll work on that!
Mark is worried that they’ll be teased for being different but I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to force them to cut it. Our family regularly make comments about the state of their hair and it’s a bit shit to be honest.
What does it matter?
It is their hair and frankly it is their choice. It’s clean, it’s as tidy as curls and thick waves can be and I don’t see a problem. My hair never fit in when I was younger and it looks like theirs isn’t going to either. Curly hair is normal and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
I use hair products, on myself and the boys, like Olew Oil (this is designed for ALL hair types) The oil is a product that embraces and nourishes your natural hair, be it wavy, curly or poker straight.
I also use hair products like Olew Curl Cream because they are specially designed for keeping curly hair curly, which is just what I want for us all!
I also read books that teach my kids to embrace what they have and not long for something they don’t.
It is what it is
I love that curly haired kids are being represented in books like this. I’m so glad I added it to my basket. I’ve been really impressed with the new range of Lantana Publishing books from Babipur, it is such a lovely collection*
Do your kids have curly hair? Long hair? Different hair to the majority? Do you think it matters to try and keep them looking mainstream/normal?
I’d love to know what you think so please pop a comment below if you can!
Thanks for reading, Jo 💚
*You can use the code TEAMWORRALL for 10% off (- not an affliate code.)