Don’t Touch My Hair! written and illustrated by Sharee Miller

Don’t Touch My Hair! written and illustrated by Sharee Miller

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Aria loves her hair but does not love when everyone tries to touch it. Gorgeous art brings her struggle to life as she tries to escape the reaching hands until she lets everyone know that they should look, but not touch without permission. The author’s note (I always share the author’s note after we share initial thinking and then extend the discussion based on this new information) adds her own experiences and what she hopes readers will glean from the story.

Life mimicked art as the bright cover and title drew passers-by to our new books bin and many hands reached for it as the conversation started days before we read it. Students asked me to read it for a #classroombookaday selection before I felt ready, but here’s the thing, as usual, I am always glad to be led by the students, so we jumped in. 

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Students said:

“It’s good for learning that we don’t touch each other’s bodies or things without permission.”

“Be brave to say ‘no.’”

“You should have your own boundaries.”

“Don’t be mad or sad if someone says no to you.”

Students made many connections to the book and had examples from their own lives and it also linked to a previous discussion of being an upstander versus being a bystander. 

Teacher thoughts:

Read this book for a great discussion about microaggressions (see this post at Teaching Tolerance and Sara Ahmed’s book, Being the Change for some more ideas). It led to a first discussion about consent (a topic many of my third graders felt had not been as directly addressed at school or home until now). This is already a book that has been referred back to in other discussions and students are feeling more comfortable saying “no”. The sense of humor throughout the book make this “heavy” topic approachable. 
Follow Sharee on Twitter or visit her website. I am excited to read she has a book coming out next autumn about Michelle Obama’s White House garden among other projects.

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