Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (Hardcover)

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Derrick asked me today, as I held this book, "Have you read it?" I had looked at a few pages and liked it but this time, cover to cover, and I was blown away. Two children are paired in a writing team, having to write poetry for a school project. One is black and the other white. Nervous, uncomfortable with each other at first (and for a while), they decide to each write about the most familiar things that pop into their minds, their hair, hobbies, family dinners..... What comes of their work is a powerful insight into how each of them experiences the world, in some ways the same, and as you can imagine, in some ways wildly different. I would make this one of my must-haves for classrooms and homes when a discussion about race, fitting in, being kind, dealing with being hurt, making friends, being respectful, understanding history, are topics of interest and really.... in what home or classroom aren't they? Wow. I'm sure glad it was a slow day at the store!

— Craig Wiesner


Two poets, one white and one black, explore race and childhood in this must-have collection tailored to provoke thought and conversation.

How can Irene and Charles work together on their fifth grade poetry project? They don't know each other . . . and they're not sure they want to.

Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, use this fictional setup to delve into different experiences of race in a relatable way, exploring such topics as hair, hobbies, and family dinners. Accompanied by artwork from acclaimed illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (of The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage), this remarkable collaboration invites readers of all ages to join the dialogue by putting their own words to their experiences.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781512404425
ISBN-10: 151240442X
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (R)
Publication Date: January 1st, 2018
Pages: 40
Language: English