British-Nigerian blogger and author, Tola Okogwu started Daddy Do My Hair? series of children’s books to tackle the relationship between young black girls and their natural afro hair in a vibrant, entertaining and educational way. Her third book Kechi’s Hair Goes Every Which Way is due to be launched in May 2018.
Kechi’s Hair Goes Every Which Way focuses on Kechi’s beautiful long hair and what her father has to go through in making sure she gets ready in time for school.
The ‘Daddy Do My Hair? series was inspired by the relationship between Tola’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.
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
The second book in the series, Daddy Do My Hair? Hope’s Braids’ tackles another polemic subject – school bullying – reinforcing the power of the family unit, the important role of fathers, and the need for greater respect and acceptance of diversity within our society from an early age.
Tola is very passionate about parenthood, she constantly seeks to create what could be described as ‘mirrors and windows’. This is to allow everyone the opportunity to read wider books that are reflective of their own experiences, backgrounds and cultures. And, being black and minority ethnic (BME) author, things are made difficult for her to publish her books which mostly features BME characters, and overcome barriers that will lead to an agent to get the book out onto the mainstream market.
“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 says.
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.
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