Don’t touch his/her hair. Admire it instead!

Over the weekend Marcel and I bought two children’s books featuring Black protagonists, written by Black authors to enjoy and then pass along to one of the preschools in the city to support their diverse libraries. One other unifying characteristic of these two books is that they are also a celebration of Black hair.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James, (picture book ages 5-12) winner of the covetted 2018 Kirkus Prize is described as; “One of the best reads for young black boys in years, it should be in every library, media center, and, yes, barbershop.”

I certainly learned early on the necessity and importance of Black barbershop culture for both Sam and Marcel. (In fact so much so is the setting of one of my most well-known and widely published poems; Black Enough.) This story vividly captures the ritual and deep importance of the barbershop hair cut and culture to a young African-American boy. The dynsmic illustrative painting style matches the celebratory poetry of the narrative.

“Don’t Touch My Hair” by Sharee Miller is as much a story and celebration of beautiful hair and identity as it is a vehicle for introducing empowered language for young girls in particular to have control of their body and what and who touches them. Courageous young Aria takes us on a realistic and magical journey of self-discovery and finding her voice to help the reader understand what she needs and how to arrive in a similar place of self-advocacy and joy.

Call to Action: Would you consider calling your local bookstore and ask them to order three copies of each if they don’t already have them? Explain that you’re getting a set for yourself and giving a set to the local elementary or preschool. (They can keep a set on the shelves.) This will remind them how important it is for them to support Black authors, publishers, and have Black protagonists in the children’s books available to their audience. At the same time gifting these books to the elementary school gives the message how important it is for all children to see Blackness centered at story time. It would also be a really helpful conversation starter for teachers who are managing successfully (or not) the “don’t touch my hair” request of students in the classroom.

According to Marcel he still manages and deals with this all the time in middle school. He shared that his friends are allowed to touch his hair on the first of the month only-and only once. But they still have to ask he said. He was relieved to see his experience both at the barbershop and in the hair patting captured so well.

If you have other hair related children’s book titles featuring protagonist’s of difference please share them in the comments below.

Marcel Monday: kite. brother. love. flight. (300/50,000)

Holding my brother's kite with two hands/ Mama C and the Boys

What a magical (if oddly framed) moment to watch my 50,000th page view, and my 300th post land on the little ether island of Mama C and the Boys.  To my lurkers, family,old friends, and new visitors, this flight launch is for all of you.  Here the kite feels as if it is my words, our story rising up out of the confines of our home, street, community, town, and state to a much larger and higher place of connection with this global audience of ours. To higher grounds, deeper connections, and holding on with all hands.

Inspired by See Theo Run’s What I learned in… series I am thinking of a what (little) I know about blogging that I didn’t know then post.  I have so many posts eager to break the surface. But it’s May. And May is Mother’s Month. May is say No to every external request and deadline possible. May is my month of ease. That is what I learned in March and April–we all need Mama to be on a much slower track. I’ll have to start scratching down some notes about that too. All in good time. Happy Month of Mothering yourselves, wherever you are in the journey of mother/parenthood.

Marcel Monday: Smoothie Guys go screen free

Marcel’s Superhero Guy Smoothies:

two cups(ish) Greek non fat yogurt

1 frozen banana (we cut up nanas that have gone brown on the outside, and freeze them for smoothie time!)

1 scoop of protein powder (in the cupboard to boost up the smoothies when I remember)

1 cup of frozen berry mix (blues, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)

3/4 cup frozen spinach (shhhhhhhhhh)*

enough liquid to make it smooooooth: rice milk, or cranberry juice are our faves


*I was accused of subterfuge here I think that is a bit strong.

Any other clever recipes you feel like sharing?  Marcel decided he wanted to shake it up here, and share his favorite food, and a few toys for good measure.

Reminder: This is turn off your screens/televisions week. For an excellent post on the topic see this piece by Pragmatic Mom. (We don’t have a television per se so we started in the green today. We just do videos). Sam and I planned out a few activities including: skateboard park, planting radishes

playdough challenge

painting, and whining. As it is Spring break here, we’ve got time, and play dates on our side too. Last night: we had a playdough challenge after dinner while I cleaned up the dishes etc. Super fun. I call out a word; “Starfish”. Then I turn over the egg timer, and the boys both try to complete a starfish before the timer went off. Then they took turns coming up with the next challenge; airplane and pizza. And yes you are seeing both home made playdough (not my doing) and this groovy homemade kind you can buy (not my doing either).

Marcel Monday: Stretchers don’t hurt? (book review)

The firefighter and his keeper/ Mama C and the Boys

Marcel’s new favorite book is hands down This is the firefighter by Laura Godwin. I love it because the firefighters are female, male, Black, White, and in between. I love that the crowds in the story wear saris and dreadlocks and whatever they choose. We call the one with dreadlocks Tree (Marcel’s donor’s name) because Marcel decided that is what he looks like now. Continue reading “Marcel Monday: Stretchers don’t hurt? (book review)”

Marcel Monday: I know you!

Looking sharp/ Mama C and the Boys

A few one liners from #2 to ease your Monday.

Upon waking and seeing me; “Hey! I know you.”

While eating cheese crackers; “I think they are too small. Can we call them cheese cracks instead.”

While watching me grade student papers; “Mom, that doesn’t look like poetry? You are supposed to be writing poetry today.”

The shearing above happened last night. He wanted to be bald like his brother:

Marcel Monday: Signs of life (in Maine)

Spring here is called mud season. Or Farchil (a word that I heard for the first time, Saturday)  which means February, March and April all slushed into one.  On a little walk up north yesterday, Marcel and I went looking for signs that winter is ending in a few weeks.  We found many. Can you detect all the good omens below?

Watering can popping up/ Mama C and the Boys
The glisten of mud, an unzipped coat/ Mama C and the Boys

That you are seeing the road, and not snow, and enough solar power to cause my little temperature sensitive one to unzip are all key. That he could find a stick to pick up, that was not under the snow, or frozen solid is another clue. That I can’t get anyone out of bed this morning because of daylight savings time…

To Farchil and beyond!

Marcel in Wonderland


Marcel in Wonderland/ Mama C and the Boys

A little Monday fun for you. Marcel and I were in the squash court, kicking around the soccer ball when Uncle and Sam were playing in the next court. They have these little doors in case you have never been in one.

Where's Sam? ? Mama C and the Boys

Feeling rather quiet over here. I am cooking up a few ideas, that will rely on some honest feedback to Mama C, so stay tuned for that. Wishing you all a week filled with a magic and what not.

Marcel Monday

Marcel-o-Man/ Mama C and the Boys

I would look in disgust at the mothers who brought their kids to the store in costumes.

I won’t be that parent. I will be the one who determines what we wear in public. As if everyday is Halloween. Poor child looks foolish.

It’s just that we were running late, and when I picked him up at daycare he had it on, and basketball practice was twenty minutes across town, and it started in ten…


A few lines from the Buddha boy this week:

Mom if you eat anymore of those spicy chips you’re going to complain about your tummy later.

All that alone time you had last night worked! You are not cranky today.

I am going to marry Uncle, because he doesn’t have hair.

That time that the you had me, and you already had Sam must have been very happy times for you Mom.  It doesn’t matter which tummy we came from either because we are always special to you.

May your inner or outer Spiderman guide you somewhere special this week too!

Marcel: It’s good to be home

Having fun!/ Mama C and the Boys

Marcel: It’s good to be home.

Me: How come?

Marcel: Because there is always toys here.

Me: Which toys did you miss the most?

Marcel: This guy and this guy and this one (pointing to menagerie of Lego/Playmobil friends).

Me: What is the hardest part of being away?

Marcel: Not playing with toys

Me: What is the best part of being somewhere new?

Marcel: Playing with other people!


If you asked me the same questions I’d answer them exactly the same, exchanging a computer for a Lego. Cool to collectively realize that we see each other and others in a new light away from all of our toys.


And just for fun I wanted to include these. One is Marcel’s hair. The other is the surface around the pool. If you squint, thanks to the composition, and the curls  you have a fun little moment:

Pebble surface/Mama C and the Boys
Marcel's hair/ Mama C and the Boys

Marcel Monday: Love is smoke Or Is this how Buddha’s mother felt?

Me: Marcel can you tell me what love is?

Marcel: Love is peace.

Me: Wow. What is peace then?

Marcel: Peace is a smoke that goes on your heart.

Me: How does the peace smoke get there?

Marcel: You can smudge, or you can just ask the smoke to go on someone’s heart. Like on a hunter’s heart. You send them peace smoke and then they don’t want to kill animals anymore.*

Me: Does love come from anywhere else?

Marcel: Love is wherever people are who make good choices about peace. And love is in a hug. And I would love a shake and fries now please.


For those of you not familiar with the practice of smudging, it is something Marcel has seen on numerous occasions at the peace camp he attends.

*Ever since a weekend away during hunting season visiting a friend’s cabin, and having to wear orange to not be mistook for a fawn, Marcel has been obsessed with hunters and why they kill animals.