Natural hair is a term that is still relatively new in this new age of beauty, and more women of color from Latin and Black backgrounds are embracing their kinks and curls. We can’t walk past an aisle now without seeing over 20+ brands advertising their new products targeted to these naturalistas. It’s different than when we were growing up were perms, and hot irons were all we could find in the beauty aisle.
But with all of the acceptance of natural hair, we still see a younger generation being wrongly discriminated against for embracing their beautiful texture. Seventeen years old, Asia Simo was kicked off her cheer team for her natural texture, not fit into their standards. Young women and girls are still experiencing racial discrimination at ages as early as five years old. Making the younger generation opt against embracing their curls. But, Darcel Craft is creating a difference with her books. Darcel Craft is the author behind My Curly, Coily, Crown; I am Super and Mi Corona Rizada. She has authored three books used as teaching tools to empower young Black children to embrace their skin, hair, and culture. We had a chance to speak with the author on her journey and the inspiration behind bringing these ideas into our bookshelves.
When developing your book, My Curly, Coily Crown, what was the initial idea behind the book series?
My initial idea was to create a book that visually showcased the beauty and versatility of curly, coily, and kinky hair, in its natural state! Curly-haired girls are often faced with negative feelings towards their natural hair because it’s so “different” from what they see on Disney movies! I wanted to create a brand of Children’s book that focused on building confidence and cultural appreciation at a YOUNG AGE! I believe in planting the seed of self love early.
You also developed your stories in Spanish as well, why did you want to make these characters for Spanish speakers?
Once I saw how well-received “My Curly, Coily Crown” was, I started wondering if Spanish-speaking girls were facing similar challenges, in terms of seeing their curly hair represented in Children’s books. I did some research and talked to several Mamas from various countries (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Columbia, etc), and found there was a huge lack of representation for their daughters and sons, in Spanish Children’s Books. I partnered with Spanish translator, Natalia Sepúlveda, and “Mi Corona Rizada” was born!
As a natural hair queen, what were key things to include in your story telling to make sure it felt authentic?
Well, having three kids, it’s challenging to find quick and easy hairstyles for them and myself! I wanted to include hairstyle ideas, in the story, for any parents who struggle with styling too! Including cultural pride and haircare tips was also key for me! I wanted to make sure I explained that curly hair doesn’t grow down like a certain snow queen, instead our hair grows out and up to the sky, like a beautiful sunflower!
What was some of your favorite books growing up?
I loved books by Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl, growing up! My favorite books were, “Where the Sidewalk ends”, “James and the Giant Peach”, and “Matilda”. And in the 90’s, I was borderline obsessed with the “Animorphs” series!
Advice for young authors who want to be authentic in their story telling?
Embrace and accept your awkwardness. All those unique attributes that make you feel you don’t fit in, embrace them fully. The more you practice doing that, the more in tune you will be with your voice, your story, your style. It will help you write and tell your story with greater clarity! Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. People want and need authenticity. Most of all, just do it! Tell your story! Write that book! Start that blog! The time is now. And remember, no one can tell your story like you can. That’s what sets you apart and makes your work special!
To purchase and support the literary works of Darcel Craft, you can find them on her website at www.darcelbeingbooks.com and see more of her book tours and adventures via Instagram