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Crown: Ode to a Fresh Cut by Derrick Barmes


“You came in as a lump of clay, a blank, canvas, a slab of marble. But when my man is done with you, they’ll want to post you up in a museum!” What could cause this kind of transformation? Nothing but a “fresh cut.” In a picture book ode that celebrates so much more than hairstyle, Derrick D. Barnes pays tribute to a unique cultural institution – the black barbershop and the role this setting can play in the life of a young black boy. Text and illustration work in perfect concert, exuding swagger and joy as our protagonist describes what it feels like to get that perfect cut: “When you see the cut yourself, in that handheld mirror….. That’s the you that you love the most… that’s the gold medal you.” Gordon C. James’s engrossing oil paintings depict the barbershop, the styles, and the fanciful possibilities engendered by the fresh cut: “Who knows? You might just smash that geography exam tomorrow and rearrange the entire principal’s honor roll.” Broad brush strokes and vivid colors invite long gazes. Sure to be a hit in your classroom, this book just begs to be read aloud!

Read aloud video:



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