Hair: From Moptops to Mohicans, Afros to Cornrows

Did you know that humans can have up to 150,000 hair strands on our heads; that about 300 years ago women would have such elaborate hairstyles that they would sleep while sitting up, to not ruin their towered hairstyles; that hair is made of a kind of substance that is also found in our nails? Katja Spitzer’s new book is filled with many such interesting anecdotes and stories on the cultural history of hair from around the world.

Visually, this book is appealing with its brightly coloured double-sided illustrations, drawn by Spitzer herself. Her illustrations accompany each narrative section and offer the young readers a visual aid for further discussions. Hair has had a contentious history in many cultures, with rules and regulations governing what is deemed “appropriate.” In light of popular culture’s engagement with hair, this book educates children about how hair is intricately connected to the private and public aspects of an individual’s life and can become instrumental for self-expression and identity. 

While Spitzer’s book does a good job in offering important historical facts and insights on hair, showcasing hair diversity, it falls short of adequately highlighting wrongful hair discriminations that children often face, particularly in educational institutions around the world, and the biases that identify some hair as beautiful and others not so. An easy introduction to these could have become a great learning opportunity for appreciating differences in colours and strands of hair, creating a future of hair positivity.

Hair - book cover
Publication Date
September 2022