Author: Ortega, Claribel A.
Marlene stops straightening her hair and embraces her natural curls. In graphic novel format.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.00
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 517650
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/01/22)
School Library Journal (+) (09/01/22)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/11/22)
The Hornbook (+) (00/11/22)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2022 Gr 4–8—Every Sunday, Marlene and her mom visit the dreaded salon for a day of hair-pulling and the unforgiving heat of the hair dryer. Because her hair needs to look pretty for her older cousin's quinceañera, the Afro-Dominican tween has to go for a second round of hair straightening, otherwise she won't look presentable in her family's eyes. While the adults marvel at her cousin's "good" hair—straight and blond—Marlene doesn't understand why her curls aren't good enough. With the help of her like-minded friend and her forward-thinking aunt, Marlene embraces herself, inside and out. In the creators' graphic novel debut, themes of anti-Blackness, colorism, and self-acceptance are explored with nuance and honesty. The subject of internalized racism is discussed in a way that will resonate with kids and families grappling with it for the first time. Bullying and grief are some of the other issues addressed. Ortega's writing is pitch-perfect for middle grade; she gives Marlene an extra layer of vulnerability that tweens will recognize. Bousamra's candy-colored palette of pinks, purples, blues, and coppers makes this sweet coming-of-age tale even more accessible and welcoming. The characters' facial expressions and the dynamic panel design keep the narrative flowing. Readers with curly hair will want to take notes as Marlene's aunt teaches her how to style her hair. Marlene has brown skin, and her family members have a variety of hair textures and skin colors. VERDICT An excellent choice for all graphic novel collections. Give to those who are not ready for Elizabeth Acevedo's books.—Shelley M. Diaz - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2022 Every Sunday, Marlene must go to the salon, and she hates it. It’s a lengthy process to get her hair to look “good.” Her mother says that she needs to keep her curls under control and looking presentable, but hearing her mother constantly say that straight hair is “good” hair has started taking its toll on Marlene. If Marlene is continually being told that straight hair is beautiful, then what does that mean for Marlene and her curly hair? With the help of her aunt Ruby, who has curly hair like Marlene, she learns that her hair can be beautiful, too. Frizzy touches upon the impact that hurtful beauty standards can have on children and how they can be perpetuated across generations, and an educational conversation on the connection between these beauty standards and anti-Blackness is neatly woven into the story. Bousamra’s illustrations use a warm color palette, with shades of pink and purple to help create a lovely read about individuality and self-love that is perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.