by Claribel A. Ortega, illustrated by Rose Bousamra
A middle grade graphic novel about Marlene, a young girl who stops straightening her hair and embraces her natural curls.
Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and "growing up." That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have "presentable", "good hair".
But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn't understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby--she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.
Target age: 8 to 12
"Marlene's journey of personal growth will evoke catharsis and joy. An exquisite excavation of hair politics, family dynamics, and self-love."" -- Kirkus, starred review
"Ortega's narrative shows the complex arc of Marlene's emotional growth--from exuberance to sadness, self-reflection to empowerment--captured with aplomb in Bousamra's expressive illustrations." -- Horn Book, starred review
About the Author:
Claribel A. Ortega is a former reporter who writes middle-grade and young adult books inspired by her Dominican heritage. When she's not busy turning her obsession with eighties pop culture, magic, and video games into books, she's co-hosting her podcast Bad Author Book Club and helping authors navigate publishing with her consulting business GIFGRRL. Claribel has been featured on Buzzfeed, Good Morning America and Deadline. Her books include Ghost Squad and Witchlings, and Frizzy.
Rose Bousamra is a freelance illustrator and comic creator born and based in Michigan. Frizzy is their first graphic novel, and their solo debut graphic novel Gutless is also published by First Second. When they're not making or reading comics they love baking sweets and playing fantasy video games.