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

Can I Touch Your Hair Poems of Race Mistakes and Friendship 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 u

  • Title: Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
  • Author: Irene Latham Charles Waters Sean Qualls Selina Alko
  • ISBN: 9781512404425
  • Page: 286
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 artwHow 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.

    One thought on “Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship”

    1. For a long time, maybe as long as children’s books have been published in America, there has been an unspoken understanding amongst white parents that when it comes to race, the less said to children the better. White people are particularly attached to the notion that if you don’t mention race, don’t speak its name, don’t bring it up in any way with kids, then they’ll never notice race on their own and they’ll grow up to become wholly unprejudiced individuals, incapable of even a si [...]

    2. I love, love, love this book of poetry. I initially picked it up because I love books that talk about manners regarding things we may not always think about. When it comes to manners and etiquette, it is so much more than please/thank you, or which fork to eat salad with. Especially when it comes to race and gender.Latham pairs two poems on similar subjects: one from the perspective of a black boy, and another from a white girl. The poems discuss things like family, making friends, food, etc. an [...]

    3. Moving, smart, brief book of accessible poetry aimed at kids, but a great read for any age. I didn't realize it was a children's book when I ordered it from the library. So glad I read it.Treat yourself!

    4. This book is a tough one for young children. I am not sure if they would understand the concept. I think older primary and junior or intermediate students would understand the messages much better. This is not poetry that rhymes or follows patterns, it is free-style with a serious message. The poems depict situations that the authors have either been involved in or witnessed. It shows that there still are race issues in our society, but there is hope they can be overcome with listening to others [...]

    5. Irene and Charles tell a story with poetry in their new book, Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship, of a boy’s and a girl’s inner feelings, about self, feelings about each other, universal kid concerns and deeper racial questions. Through sharing parts of those feelings, about what might be termed “safe” subjects, these two kids learn about each other, learn that they have a few common likes and dislikes. Maybe they can even be friends? It is a good path but doe [...]

    6. I cannot wait to share this with my colleagues, parents, and students. The poems really resonated with a childs' perspective, and opened the door to some important, albeit potentially uncomfortable conversations about race. I loved that it did not paint either child with a broad stroke of the brush, but gave them each such individuality and character, while still facing challenges that both races face. The poems seemed to be crafted with such care, only to be matched with the beautiful mixed med [...]

    7. This is a book that I want to share and begin conversations. One that will open eyes along with hearts as we discuss race, mistakes and friendships. "Here we are still getting use to each other, sideways glances ." A door has been opened.

    8. This is a novel in verse for younger readers features two children from the same classroom and how they see the world around them.

    9. In this important book about opening up to conversations about race, two fifth-grade classmates share their personal experiences while working on a project together. Told in poetic form, we hear from two different viewpoints; one from a white girl, and the other from a black boy. Topics based on current events help shape the relevance of the story. For teaching purposes, this book would work well with an older audience when discussing empathy, race, and point of view. Discussions around "Can I T [...]

    10. This book of poetry for children is written by two authors, Irene Latham who is white and Charles Waters who is African-American. The two create a fictional setting where they attended school with one another and were assigned to be partners in a poetry-writing assignment. The poems here explore hair, families, church, shoes, and hobbies but most of all they explore race in America. Told in alternating voices, the poems show each of the authors as children and are based on real childhood experie [...]

    11. I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher - 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 artwo [...]

    12. I think this book is awesome! It would be good for my elementary students to read independently or I could use it for an interactive read aloud. The book has short poems dealing with differences in race and interactions between races. The author and co-author each are able to give their own perspective on their unique culture and the other race's culture. The book includes poems that are easy to read and practical for young children. Some of the poems contain rhyme and some of them do not. The a [...]

    13. An open-hearted, sincere book by a white poet named Irene and an African-American poet named Charles. It’s an exchange of poems by two fifth graders.a white girl named Irene and an African-American boy named Charles. The poems address a variety of topics (Irene’s love of horses, Charles’s newfound veganism) but keep circling back to race. The authors’ good intentions and some individually lovely poems don’t really make us feel connected to either kid as a fleshed-out character — they [...]

    14. When Irene and Charles get partnered up for their class poetry project, they're not sure how it will go since they are so different - different gender, race, and friends. Their paired poems about the same topics open their eyes (and the reader's) to how similar they really are. The topics range from music and hobbies to hair and news. The illustrations also add to the overall beauty of the book.Something I learned through the awesome notes at the end is that the authors (also Irene and Charles) [...]

    15. The poem "Strands" alone is worth the price of admission. Like many collections, the quality of poem varies from page to page. Certain stand-alone poems could be good for classroom discussion. Reservations: The dialogue seems to be written about children as opposed to as children. The narrative is very Christian-centric. Charles' sentiments about soul food leading to cancer and diabetes are baffling and out-of-place.The characterizations of Irene and Charles are uneven and inconsistent. It's har [...]

    16. This was such a great picture book. I didn't know what it was about; however, someone gave it to me to read at work and I completely and utterly fell in love with it! I couldn't have asked for a better representation of the experience between a black and white child. So many different and interesting topics were covered that illustrated how that life goes beyond color and can really be shown and illustrated through experiences. I absolutely loved the artwork. What I found interesting was the fac [...]

    17. I expected to enjoy this, and it far exceeded my expectations. The simplicity and directness each of the two voices allowed me to slide right into both identities, into the school and home relationships, into the gradual shifts of their interactions from anxious concern to naturally developing friendships. The dialogic poems, simple but helpful illustrations, and discreet details from the two lives and points of view offer readers of any age an open door to reflect on privilege and unrecognized [...]

    18. What a wonderful tale. Rec for 4th through 8th grade. Written by two poets with distinct voices, and cleverly illustrated.What I liked best about this book was that it was fair to both voices. Neither of the characters was without troubles or graces. I read this to my seventh and eighth-graders and took away different lessons from each group of kids. It also started some good, and important, classroom discussion.We were fortunate to have a visit to our school from both authors all this week!I wo [...]

    19. As a childcare worker and parent, I love this book! Can I Touch Your Hair follows two children, Charles and Irene, as they reluctantly form an unlikely pair on a poetry project for school. Through writing about their family lives, trouble fitting in, hobbies, misconceptions and more, they learn that they are much more alike than they first realized. The story is told through poems written by the characters, and each poem provides an opportunity to discuss big issues like race, finding your place [...]

    20. This unique book of poems is a collaboration between two poets, one white and one black, that goes into the different experiences that children of these races go though in daily life, and really shows what it's like to be in their shoes for a moment, and explaining their perspectives. I think that the experiences touched on are really relatable for any child, and do a great job of showing both sides of the story in a child-friendly manner. The illustrations are very expressive as well, which hel [...]

    21. Can I Touch Your Hair? is a collection of poems from two children's perspective on such matters as race, shoes, sports, friendship, reading, and family. We alternate on similar subjects between young Irene and young Charles, and often see that both sides of the story are often different, but are also often the same.Although the book seems to be aimed at children, I believe it would be a great read for people of every age. Sharing the poems with a young child is a great way to start discussions w [...]

    22. Oh, what a wonderful book! It's a touching story of friendship, a look back through time, and a reassurance that--if we can set aside fear and just talk to each other--we can heal hurts and unify a world torn apart by racism. I know both of these poets, and I love how they brought their real lives and real feelings and real hearts into this novel in verse. I related to many of Irene's poems, especially "Apology." And I learned from both Irene and Charles. I hope this book will be available for e [...]

    23. Not only is this book a great idea/concept, but it delivers! It shows in a very simple way how we can break down barriers by just being open to our neighbors. As an educator, I love that this important life lesson is delivered through a class project, especially one involving poetry. I can imagine that this book will be a springboard in many classrooms for opening a much-needed dialogue. This book is beautiful in so many ways! Kudos to its creators: Irene Latham, Charles Waters, Sean Qualls, and [...]

    24. This collection of poems focuses on racial issues as seen by young children, both children of color and white children. They mostly take place in a school setting, and there is obvious discrimination and racism in the school and among the students. The poems follow different students and different conflicts, but they all struggle with the concept of race and what it means/doesn't mean. The illustrations do a good job of portraying the confusion of children wondering why this is a world where the [...]

    25. I love everything about this book. The title. The honesty of the poems. The different perspectives. The growth and friendship that develops between Irene and Charles. The beautiful illustrations. And even the clever use of black font on white (for titles of Charles's poems) and white font on black (for titles of Irene's poems). Wonderful! Wonderful! And so needed! What a great opportunity it presents for discussion.

    26. *I received this book from NetGalley in return for a honest review*This book was both entertaining and teachable. There are a lot of lessons to be learned through the short poems and artwork throughout this book. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and their lives and seeing how they learned new things about each other and grew in their opinions. I found that this book is good for both adults and children and in starting conversations between all of them.

    27. This one made me teary. I see so many students of different races in my school who misunderstand each other or say something they didn't realize was hurtful. This book seems like a great way to come together and understand differences that actually make us quite alike. I love that this was written by two friends, a white woman and black man, as well as illustrated using amazing mixed media by an interracial couple. It makes the words and feelings on the pages so much more authentic.

    28. The poems in this books are told by two children, one black and one white who are working together on a poetry project. They don't know each other well and initially are not excited about working together. The poems are wonderful and the children learn a great deal about each other and race. I liked too that there are two authors, one black and one white and they did not know each other when they started working together.

    29. There's lots of depth and layering in the poems (posted side by side by two classmates on a variety of topics). Alliances are formed through the power of the written word, and two school children discover that they have more in common than they ever realized.With excellent prose, the poems are worth multiple reads in order to catch the full effect.

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