Author Nancy Redd’s New Children’s Book “Bedtime Bonnet” Celebrates Black Nighttime Hair Rituals

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Nancy Redd, author of Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real Answers, dedicated herself to boosting the self-esteem of much younger girls in her latest book, Bedtime Bonnet.

Written by Harvard graduate Redd and illustrated by TV animation character designer Nneka Myers, Bedtime Bonnet, published by Random House Kids, is the first-ever children’s picture book that honors the time-honored practice of Black women protecting their hair with satin bonnets.

The idea for Bedtime Bonnet came from her daughter’s reaction to being told she needed to wear one at 3 years old.

“She was like, ‘I don’t want to wear a bonnet, bonnets are for old people,’” Redd recalled to Essence.

To quote the Essence article further:

“Because when you’re 3 or 4, you are not going to sleepovers, you know what I mean? And we moved far away from our extended family. So it’s not like I was hanging out with the cousins and she was able to see other people her age,” said Redd. “She only saw me and grandma in a bonnet.”

She continued, “I just didn’t know how to explain it to her because of the cartoon characters she would watch. Even the Black ones, they don’t wear anything to bed on their head, which now is a huge plot hole that causes me stress. Like when little children are going to bed, they are just laying their head on top of that cotton pillowcase and it stresses me out.”

Redd merged her annoyance with her talents to write Bedtime Bonnet. The quick read features the full lips, brown skin, glorious locs, buoyant curls, and soft caresses that have made up the nightly routine of Black families for generations. Du-rags, silk scarves, wave caps, and doobie wraps are all represented in its pages. Redd wanted to transfer her love of the self-care ritual onto her little girl and children around the world.

To order Bedtime Bonnet via Amazon, click here.

To read more via Essence, click here.

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