Author Sharee Miller’s new book Don’t Touch My Hair, sequel to Princess Hair, follows a young black girl, Aria, through adventures across the world and even into space. The premise is her avoiding people trying to touch her hair when she doesn’t want them to. Aria still loves her hair and doesn’t want to change it, but there is an important lesson here to be learned for children, especially black children with natural hair. Many are subjected to having their hair touched and played with by curious strangers, which perpetuates the fetishization of black features. It also teaches children that they should allow people to touch them, even if it’s against their will. This can escalate into unhealthy notions of consent when they are older. This book seeks to encourage children to love themselves as they are and also assert their feelings on physical contact when necessary, likely helping to foster healthier relationships in later life.
For Further Reading
Check out more of Sharee Miller’s work on her website.
Did adults ever innocently touch you when were a child—stroking your hair or squeezing your cheeks, for example? How did it make you feel?
Next time you interact with a child, consider their comfort and needs. It’s common for children to be rebuked for not hugging a relative—push back on this if necessary and give children the space and autonomy to choose for themselves. Reiterate that there are ways to show affection other than physical contact.