Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James. 2017. Published by Agate Bolden.
Brief summary: A young boy goes to the barber shop to get his hair cut. The barber is the man who will transform him to his highest potential of handsomeness. The barber puts the cape on and starts his magical transformation of the boy that will enable him to do wondrous feats and be admired by all. The boy notices all the other men in the chairs imagining what greatness they behold. The finishing touch of the stinging alcohol completes the feat. The boy admires his sweet self in the mirror. The barber takes off his cape and brushes off any strays. The boy gives him the money and leaves the shop feeling invincible.
Comments: Derrick Barnes truly captures the feel of a great haircut with the humor and metaphorical descriptions of each step of the hair cut. Although this book is through the perspective of a young boy, both boys and girls could relate and understand that magic that happens in the shop; the before and after feeling; the magical surge of self-esteem at the end.
There is note from the author where Derrick Barnes shares his barber shop story when he was in sixth grade.
I love the illustrations and how they capture the energy and excitement of the barber shop. Combined with Derrick Barnes’ ode? A true homage to the barbershop culture. This is one of those books to add to your library.