Bedtime Bonnet is a joy. The premise is simple, showing how each person in a multi-generational Black family prepares their hair for bedtime, and how they fix their hair the next morning before going about their day. I highly recommend reading this picture book with young children of every race and ethnicity. I wish this book had been available in the 1970s, when I was a white girl growing up in the segregated suburbs of Kansas City. I had few opportunities to know any Black girls like the protagonist of this book. If I had, I would have noticed far more things our families had in common than society-at-large would have us believe.
My grandmother owned a beauty salon. My mom had a cosmetology license. Even though she stopped doing hair professionally when she got married, Mom experimented on my brothers, sisters and me. She gave us perms (yes, even my brothers!), set my sister’s and my hair in foam curlers that we slept in overnight (like the grandma in this book,) and she always made sure before we left the house for the day that our hair was "done.” Needless to say, despite the differences in our skin tone and hair texture, I can relate to the Black family in this book.
Our society needs more picture books like this. It’s about time major publishing houses are releasing more books by Black authors and illustrators for Black kids to see reflections of themselves. It’s also a too-often-overlooked window for a vast array of people who are not Black to appreciate how one particular Black family goes about a regular day. Never would I have thought a book about a topic as mundane as how each family member fixes their hair would give me such hope that our society can one day be truly anti-racist.