Wonderful Hair: The Beauty of Annie Malone

Creston. Oct. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781954354104.
Gr 1-4–For women of color, Western hair care has been historically problematic. Hair care companies ignored their needs, sending them to find their own solutions. Annie Malone, who loved styling hair, was one such woman; when she found that the treatments her clients were using were damaging their hair and scalps, she went to her aunt, an herb doctor, for help. Aunt Mary devised a formula that became the basis for hair products; Malone herself experimented with other products from the pharmacy, then offered training on hairstyling and other beauty treatments. She also started and ran a beauty school. This lovely picture book biography covers this story with beautiful representations of Black women to help readers fully understand the journey of this entrepreneur and her message. In addition to an author’s note, there is a time line and a short bibliography for readers who want to know more. Readers will enjoy learning about the creativity and persistence of this early 20th-century businesswoman, who not only trained Madame C.J. Walker, another self-made millionaire, but made her money first.
VERDICT Gorgeous paintings of industry and determination, set to a story of a practical young woman who wanted people to feel good about themselves and was a pioneer of natural Black hair care products, this is a good choice for the elementary biography section.

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