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Things I Did Before They Were Cool: Coloring Book Edition

pippins_i love my hairRecently, I have seen many articles about coloring books for adults (like this one). I paid little attention because I was so ahead of this trend.

You see, my right-out-of-college boyfriend and our group of friends were super into board games. Initially I tried to play, but it became very clear to all of us very quickly that no one wanted that: I didn’t understand the rules; I didn’t want to understand the rules; I was bored; I was frustrated; and I made the game miserable for anyone trying to play with me. But if I didn’t play I felt left out, which meant I would pester them while they tried to concentrate.

So my then-boyfriend bought me coloring books and colored pencils. The group of us would go to the bar, they would focus in on the game, I would focus in on my coloring, and we would all speak distractedly to each other over booze and activities.

And that is how I was preemptively cool.

But then, I ♥ My Hair: A Coloring Book of Braids, Coils, and Doodle Dos (Schwartz & Wade, November 2015) by Andrea Pippins came across my desk. The Horn Book doesn’t review activity books (and this may be an adult book?) but I instantaneously fell in love with it. Pippins writes in her forward, “As an artist and a designer, I’m all about self-empowerment for women and girls, and much of my artwork over the years has been inspired by social, political, and cultural statements that can be made with hair…Inside this book, you’ll find pages filled with doodles that continue to celebrate my love for black hair, and my passion for inspiring all women and girls to feel good about themselves.”


What follows is a riot of up-dos, curls, waves, and braids to color. The illustrations are intricate, bold, and dazzling, with many double-page spreads of impressive styles such as the “South Indian Bejeweled Bridal Braid,” the “Marie Antoinette,” and the “Diana Ross.” Sayings (“Relax & let your hair go free!”) and accoutrements are displayed proudly and beautifully, the book expressing over and over again “I love my hair.”

I love this book.

I spent part of my day listening to calming music and filling in the double-page spread of short hairdos (“Go cropped & coily or short & spiky”).


hair_finished page

One of our interns, Julia, started one and blew mine out of the water:


This is a perfect coloring book for a meticulous colorer — adult or youth — with a message that is extremely valuable. Get it. Give it. Color it. Love it.

Siân Gaetano About Siân Gaetano

Siân Gaetano is assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @KidLitChick.

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