Meet the little girl who loves her beautiful natural Afro hair in ‘Kechi’s Hair Goes Every Which Way’ tells the story of Kechi’s beautiful big hair and how her daddy has to make sure she gets ready in time for school.
’Mummy’s away and it’s up to Daddy to get Kechi and her hair ready for school. There’s just one problem… he doesn’t know how! Fun and hilarity ensue as Daddy tries to tame Kechi’s swirly-springy, fluffy-puffy, squishy-squashy, candyfloss curls.’
The ‘Daddy Do My Hair?’ series was inspired by the relationship between author Tola Okogwu’s husband and daughter and is designed to challenge some of the perceptions and preconceptions around race, gender roles within parenting, bullying, friendships and relationships. These books have been an excellent way of encouraging diversity and inclusion from an early age – having children from all ethnicities enjoy the book makes an important impact on how children can identify with each other.
As a character, Kechi represents little black girls falling in love with their beautiful natural afro hair and her cheeky personality is almost as big as her hair! In this new book, we join Kechi and her doggy sidekick, Butterscotch as they try and bamboozle her inexperienced father. But who will get the last laugh?
The first book in the children’s picture book series, ‘Daddy Do My Hair? Beth’s Twists’, got the seal of approval from celebrities, parents, teachers and the highly respected Book Trust* “Softly rhyming text and glowing, illustrations in this calm, gentle book celebrate an apparently insignificant domestic ritual, which means everything to this father and daughter as they make time for each other.” Critically acclaimed actress Thandie Newton was a fan too sharing these kind words: “This book is so gorgeous – I love it! Plus, a guy doing his daughter’s natural hair? That’s sexy.”
Through her books and wider writing, she constantly seeks to create ‘mirrors and windows’, allowing everyone the opportunity to read books that are reflective of their own experiences, backgrounds and cultures. Tola is passionate about parenthood, the role of fathers and strongly believes that resources for parents should be freely and widely available. Her journey as a black author has not been an easy one, the traditional method of publishing makes it extra difficult to get published as a BME author or write books featuring BME characters. There are many barriers to entry and gatekeepers to get through, from getting an agent to getting a mainstream book deal.
“Unfortunately, there is this very myopic and stereotypical view of BME authors and their work. There is this expectation that as a BME author you can only write about BME issues e.g. racism, Black History, colonialism and if you try to step outside of that box, people don’t know what to do with you.” – Tola Okogwu
The success of ‘The Daddy Do My Hair’ series proves that there is a market for diverse books and diverse authors, it is not a trend or even a niche and it’s time that the mainstream society knew about it.