Josey Johnson's Hair and the Holy Spirit
Jerry Pinkney Children's Book Award
Reader's Choice Award Winner
When Josey wonders why people are so different, Dad helps her understand that our differences aren't a mistake. In fact, we have many differences because God is creative!
Josie is spending the day with Dad—getting her hair braided at Monique's Beauty Shop, and picking out a new red dress for Sunday. Because Sunday is Pentecost! In the process, she learns to celebrate the differences she sees all around her as part of God's plan for his creation.
Children and the adults who read with them are invited to join Josey as she learns of God's wonderfully diverse design. Also included is a note from the author to encourage further conversation about the content.
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"Every page and picture in this little book brings a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart. For a Black girl with textured hair like me, it is both nostalgic and meaningful. Esau's pen is always powerful, but here it is very likely the most personal—a father's love letter to his beloved and beautiful brown-skinned daughter. Dear reader, Josie's story will remind you—and every young girl attached to you—that your uniqueness is a reflection of the Father's creative genius. And then it will invite you to embrace every curl and to love the skin you're in."
"Esau paints a beautiful picture of how we can weave biblical teaching into the ordinary stuff of life, like a visit to the salon for your daughter's extraordinarily gorgeous hair. Josey Johnson's Hair and the Holy Spirit will help you share about the image of God, the gospel for all nations, and the Holy Spirit, all while helping your child gain the invaluable knowledge that she is fearfully and wonderfully made."
"God has created beauty in diversity. But in a world that can be uniquely unkind to our Black girls, I have known the responsibility and privilege of intentionally celebrating their inner and outer glory. In Josey Johnson's Hair and the Holy Spirit, Esau McCaulley reminds me of deep conversations with my own beautiful daughters, appreciating their differences, affirming God's love, and telling them they are valuable beyond measure. This message is for today."
"The exuberant story, with illustrations to match, manages to explain Pentecost, affirm Josey's Blackness as 'God's work of art' and celebrate human difference as evidence of God's plan for creation at the same time. That's a lot for a picture book, but it works!"
"This children's book by Esau McCaulley explores how God has uniquely designed each of us in the way we are made, inspired by Psalm 139: 'I am fearfully and wonderfully made.' "
"There are so many delights in this children's story. Theologian Esau McCaulley weaves into the narrative rich theology of humans as God's image bearers and the wonder of Pentecost in the proclamation of Christ for the nations. Then there is the sheer delight of a father taking his daughter to get her hair styled, . . . and going dress shopping with his daughter. LaTonya Jackson's vibrant illustrations are a feast for the eyes. And the concluding Pentecost celebrations struck me as the way Pentecost ought to be celebrated! Most of all, this is a story for every child who feels 'different,' affirming the 'unique work of art' each one is."