Emi is a creative seven-year-old girl with a BIG imagination and in Tina Olajide’s first children’s book she describes all the cool and quirky things Emi likes most about her hair. From the shape and movement to detangling single strand knots, Emi’s unique point of view will put a smile on your child’s face.
Images have a powerful affect on the psyche, shaping and affirming how we see ourselves, so why not create a positive character through vivid imagery and storytelling. In future books Emi will inspire young girls to dream bigger, reach higher and create their very own masterpiece.
1. We love the concept of your first book! Who was the inspiration behind Emi?
Thank you. Emi is inspired by my love of natural hair, animation and storytelling. Images are powerful and I want to instill a sense of pride, love and self-confidence in as many girls as possible. Emi is a character I wish I had when I was a child and now I get to share her with the world through this book.
2. Your first book, “Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair“, explores Emi’s relationship with her own hair. Why did you feel it was important to publish a book on this topic?
Hair is one aspect of our outward appearance that affects the way we feel about ourselves. Relaxers and texturizers were once a rite of passage for girls and thankfully that is changing. It was important to me for Emi to be happy with who she is as she is–curly, coily, cotton candy hair included! The story unfolds with Emi on wash day describing her hair and how her mom takes care of it step by step.
I created Emi, because I realised there weren’t enough heroines for little brown girls to look up to. Emi reminded me of the confident and inquisitive little girl I was and the importance of nurturing the spark inside every girl.
3. Will we see more of Emi in the future?! Will she have some curly-haired friends?!
Yes, you will see more of Emi in the near future! I will explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the arts through Emi’s eyes. Emi has an awesome group of curly-coily-cotton candy-haired friends I will introduce in future books.
4. Who is your publisher? If independent, why did you decide to go that route?
I self-published Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair because I knew the importance of the character and message. I believe in creating the things I want to see the world that are missing. I wanted my vision to be presented as I intended it with full creative control and direction.
5. What age range are your books aiming to reach?
My book is for children 5 to 8-years-old, but younger children can still appreciate the pictures as mom or dad reads to them.