- Reading age 4 - 7 years
Author: Sharnette Donacien
Illustrator: Shereen Said.
Dedication: To her daughter Adalia and all the curly-haired girls. Publisher: Conscious Dreams Publishing.
Typeset: Okasana Kosovan.
Ada's Wash Day by Sharnette Donacien
Join Ada and Mama as they go through their weekly Sunday morning hair washing ritual. Their special mother-daughter bond is brilliantly captured and illustrated in this fun, and sweet story about grooming and self-acceptance.
Read and see how Mama teaches Ada to care for her hair and Ada learns to love and accept herself just the way she is. Mama also learns a little bit about herself too!
Against the deep ocean-blue front cover, her name is emboldened in deep pink-coloured tones above Ada’s head. Her white bathtub which, not only serves as the perfect backdrop to the rest of the title, ‘wash day!’ but contrasts perfectly in this clouds-sky, colour scheme ambience and child-friendly hues.
Ada’s pink mat with her red glasses on the floor and her box of hair care tools immediately draws you into Ada’s bathroom moment! She, of course, modestly covered in the fluffy blue bubbles as her image centrally fills the cover space. Ada’s wash day is: mama’s knock! Knock! on that bedroom door, sounds of splashing water, the feel of shampoo and foam bubbles, as well as Ada’s curly hair. Ada’s screams and her mama’s soothing voice can also be heard.
Ada’s wash day is an honest sharing of the tribulation and tears of every child with curly, natural Afro- type hair that has to have that weekly Sunday shampoo, comb and styled treatment. It’s the experience between a mother and her young daughter whose tender loving care smoothes the tensions between both her tight curls and her head; and the struggles between them on the weekly wash- day hair routine.
“What! ?” “Why is she screaming?” “Why is her face scowling?” Ada is unhappy twice over; Papa and Gabi her older brother is out on their bicycles having fun, she wants to go out and play but Mama had to say no; because it was her weekly hair -washing and styling day. And yes, washing curly Afro hair takes long, gets tangled and does hurt.
The author and Illustrator worked intimately through what has produced an honestly telling experience of a little girl’s dreaded hair washing and styling day. In just 35 pages, the author crafts minimal text and dialogue, with life-size images; vividly illustrating the rich natural beauty of the African skin, textured hair and beauty to instil pride and confidence in little girls with varied hair types like Ada’s. The illustrations of Ada’s facial expressions were captured in vivid reflections of the portrayal anger and anguish; as well as pride and jubilation.
While the story is told and illustrated through Ada’s mama’s own delicate and sensitive handling of this mother-daughter hair routine and relationship; triggers of many readers’ own experiences may not be so soothing and comforting.
Ada’s mama’s telling, and royally illustrative images ending in the family’s dance celebration, all wearing gold crowns, is a teaching lesson for mothers and others. It’s as much as the instilling of pride and confidence in our culture; as positively embracing of our African tight ‘cloud- curly hair’ and styles.
The book thoughtfully ends with Ada’s gallery of images, in her own special pantheon of prided curly hair variety of styles. Mama and her daughter are featured in a bonded relationship.
4th April 2022.
Ada’s Wash Day is available at….