Local girl motivates others by creating coloring book about natural hair
Accokeek resident Alexis Proctor could not find a book about loving her natural hair, so she did the unthinkable. She wrote a coloring book that would help motivate her and make her appreciate her own curly, unprocessed hair. Little did she know it would take the country by storm.
Proctor, 12, a sixth grader at Accokeek Academy, is the author of “Curly Girls Love Your Curls.” The coloring book about natural hair came out in April and has been featured in Essence Magazine.
“My goal with this book is to help little girls know that they should just love themselves and love they way they are,” Proctor said. “I know a lot of girls do not like their hair and they wish it was a certain way. As I was growing up I did not like my hair and I could not find a book about curly hair or just hair in general, so I wanted to write a book about it.”
In the interactive coloring book, Alexis shares a positive message about natural hair that shows the importance of self-esteem. The beautifully il- lustrated story teaches a lesson for all “curly girls,” young and old, to embrace their coils and locks in a fun and memorable way.
The book’s illustrator, Tra- ci Baker Jackson, made sure the characters and the colors appealed to kids and captured that particular audience. She said Alexis was so cute, outgoing, motivated and very clear on what she wanted in the col- oring book.
“As a graphic designer I’ve created characters with natural hair before, but I’ve never illus- trated for a natural hair coloring book before,” Baker Jackson said. “Being a black woman my- self I identify with kids wanting to have things look more like them. I hope the book makes us all comfortable and ready to embrace whatever it is that God gave us. I also hope that people are supportive of a young girl being positive and trying to make a positive impact.”
Baker Jackson said she loved the concept from the first time she spoke with Proctor, and it’s been embraced by kids since its launch.
Proctor said the main char- acter was created to look like herself: with long, curly, natural hair. The other characters are unique young girls, one child with freckles and one child with red hair, which you might not see in other books today.
Her mother, Monica Glee Proctor, said she has always kept her daughter’s hair natural, meaning hair texture that hasn’t been altered by chemical straighteners, including relax- ers and “texturizers,” a mild form of relaxer.
“I wanted to put a texturizer in her hair but she fought me not to do it and I am glad that she did,” Monica said. “I wanted her to be comfortable with her own hair. I didn’t want to put what my husband and I wanted for her on her. I didn’t want her to have her hair straight and not like it.”
Alexis’ parents are extremely proud of her success and grateful that the book has touched so many lives.
“I love the book,” said Glenn Proctor, Alexis’ father. “I’m just so amazed that she put this book together and wrote it. The passion she put into it, I’m just in awe of it. All the responses she’s been getting [are] amaz- ing. I thought she was writing the book for just herself. I had no idea it would be for the masses and seeing it take off has been amazing.”
“Parents have written us back saying that her book has really helped their daughters or nieces when people bully them about their hair,” Monica said. “Just getting that feedback makes all of us feel good. God made all of this happen for a reason. She has a very important message to share. Mothers keep telling me they wish they had something like this when they were growing up.”
Alexis said loving her hair has not been an easy process and now that she has gained more confidence, her hair makes her feel like a “superstar.” She is still amazed at the success of her book and remembers being in shock that her coloring book was mentioned in Essence Magazine.
“I love Essence Magazine,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite magazines and when I was growing up that’s what my mom would have always read. Knowing that Beyonce, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey have been featured before in the same magazine is just so amazing.”
She plans to continue writing a series of books that will help kids be safe and love themselves. She has already written her second book, “The Ice Cream Talk,” about loving your skin color.
It is currently being illustrated with plans to publish it in February.