Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

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Product Details
$17.99  $16.73
Carolrhoda Books (R)
Publish Date
7.2 X 10.1 X 0.6 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author
Charles Waters is a children's poet, actor, and co-author of Charlotte Huck Honor Book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. His novel in verse, Mascot (co-written with Traci Sorell) was recognized as a Charlotte Huck Honor Book and a 2024 American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book. His poems have appeared in various anthologies including One Minute Till Bedtime and The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry. Charles performs his one-person show as well as conducts poetry performance and writing workshops for elementary and middle school audiences. He lives in Georgia.
Irene Latham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming works of poetry, fiction, and picture books. Her work includes Charlotte Huck Honor Book and ALA Notable Children's Book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (co-written with Charles Waters) and the Caldecott Honor Book The Cat Man of Aleppo(co-written by Karim Shamsi-Basha). In 2016 she won the ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award. Visit her at
Selina Alko spends her days melding words and mixed-media art to convey stories of hope and inspiration--as well as an alternative viewpoint. Her books include The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage, Can I Touch Your Hair?, Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama, and I is for Immigrants, which was selected a 2022 Best Children's Book of the Year by Bank Street Books. Selina lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Sean Qualls illustrated the widely acclaimed biographies The Poet Slave of Cuba and Dizzy. He lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn, New York.

"These poems explore diversity with refreshing honesty and complexity--and truly capture the personalities and voices of these two rising stars of poetry."--Janet Wong, author and co-creator of The Poetry Friday Anthology series

-- (6/9/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"In tantalizing free verse poems, Irene Latham and Charles Waters reimagine themselves as fifth-grade strangers, then classmates, and finally friends. Can I Touch Your Hair? is a compelling portrait of two youngsters dancing delicately through a racial minefield."--J. Patrick Lewis, former US Children's Poet Laureate

-- (6/7/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"[D]elicately demonstrate[s] the complexity of identity and the power of communication to build friendships."--starred, Publishers Weekly

-- (11/13/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"A fresh approach to exploring interracial communication. . . . A brave and touching portrayal worthy of sharing in classrooms across America."--starred, Kirkus Reviews

-- (9/21/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"[A]n unusually candid book for pre-YA kids about race and difference, allowing for the possibility of the mistakes (the word is right in the subtitle) but also a hopeful outcome as Irene and Charles find enrichment in their friendship."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

-- (4/18/2018 12:00:00 AM)

"It took four people to bring us Can I Touch Your Hair? and countless others to bring it to our library and bookstore shelves. It takes only one person to buy it and show it to a kid. And it takes only one to use it as the conversation starter we've needed for so long."--A Fuse #8 Production

-- (2/21/2018 12:00:00 AM)

"Qualls and Alko's layering of print newspaper clippings over paint begs readers to take a closer look. . . . [A]n excellent read-aloud or a launch pad for collaborative classroom writing."--The Horn Book Magazine

-- (12/4/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"Young readers searching for means to have difficult, emotional, and engaged discussions about race will find an enlightening resource in Irene and Charles' explorations."--Booklist

-- (10/17/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"A fresh and heartwarming take on bridging the racial divide."--Carole Boston Weatherford, author of Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

-- (6/9/2017 12:00:00 AM)