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The Boy with Pink Hair by Perez Hilton

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cover the boy with the pink hairPerez Hilton has written a delectable children’s book about a little boy who is different from everybody else in the world. He is born with bright Pink hair. He is not like his mom or dad. Everywhere the boy with the pink hair goes, people stare and make fun of him. His family loves him and is a happy family and his parents tell him that one day his difference will make a difference. For a while he doesn’t have any close friends but then his parents build him a tree house with a kitchen, giving him a space of his own to cook and he is a food making prodigy. On his first day of school, he encounters a bully but also makes a friend who he invites into his cooking sanctuary. The school faces a crisis and the boy with pink hair solves the problem with his food preparation, bringing everyone together as a community of food preparing teachers and students. Even the bully pitches in to help and eventually they become friends as well. Then, the bully’s father franchises the food creations of the boy with the Pink Hair and he is internationally celebrated and popular. The moral of the story is that even though the boy with the pink hair is different, his difference isn’t what makes his contribution to the world special. He happens to have pink hair and happens to be a cooking prodigy.
Colorfully and engagingly illustrated, this is a book that children of all ages who like vibrant colors and don’t mind several kind of obvious messages or idealistic diversity clichés turned into a story will enjoy. The narrative of overcoming obstacles to relationships and overcoming bullying with collaboration are all positive.

I take umbrage with book’s message that your difference doesn’t matter if you become wildly acclaimed and fix things for all the people who are not considered different. Despite the fact the majority population often only accepts those considered different when they are famous or saviors, this is not what I think young children should be taught. Although the diversity language of “He was born that way” and “His parents didn’t pester him to play games that didn’t interest him,” is familiar language for accepting people in the lgbt community, any child who is in a physical or cultural minority can connect on many levels with the idea of being accepted by their parents.

The protagonist’s difference is an impossible, fun, silly difference that allows all to comfortably discuss diversity and acceptance. Because the book chooses to avoid a direct practical difference or present a complex protagonist, I think it is most valuable when read with an adult and discussing issues of diversity afterwards.Without that discussion, the book is overly PC, vague, and cliche, not really teaching any children how to truly accept difference in themselves or others just because they are human.

Recommendation: Slightly Recommended; ages 5+ with adult to discuss; without adult, leave on shelf
Book Review by Omilaju Miranda


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