Atara Twersky may not be a worldwide acclaimed writer, but her 2016 children’s book, Curlee Girlee, has inspired countless little girls. Additionally, mothers and grandmothers have found inspiration and confidence in celebrating their curly hair since the release of the book.
In a world where beauty and style are looked upon through a magnifying glass, Twersky saw the importance of showing young girls that they should be confident with their natural beauty. Twersky noticed a lack of young heroines sporting curly hair, and an abundance of girls in the public eye being the definition of perfection with their sleek straight hair, and she decided it was time for someone to speak out.
Twersky is an attorney by profession, based in New York, and like her, most of her family have straight hair. Her youngest daughter, Ari, however, started growing tiny ringlets, and this came as quite the surprise to Twersky. It was then that she began noticing her concerns with societal values and the ways curly hair was looked at.
She then decided to take action. “I was looking around, and I felt like curly hair seems to be maybe not the ideal. We’re in this society where the Brazilian blowouts and keratins are just everywhere. I didn’t want her to feel that she had to conform to society’s image of perfection. I wanted her to love her hair (and) all of her unique features.”
Understanding that societal perceptions of curly hair may lead to confidence struggles for Ari at an older age, and her mother wanted to do something about it. Nicknaming her own daughter “curlee girlee” from a young age, in an effort “to make her feel like it’s special and something she can embrace and love,” it was this same name that gave her inspiration for her book.
With the goal to express how girls should embrace their unique hair textures, the book begins with a little girl who hates her ringlets at first, but by the end of the story, she has learned to become more confident about her hair.
The book was intended on helping little girls with confidence issues, but Twersky was surprised at how her book resonated with an even greater audience. “What I thought was most interesting was that women actually were emailing me saying, ‘I love this book,’ or, ‘This book made me cry because that was me. I was always trying to straighten my own hair, and I wish I had had this book when I was little.’”
The outpour of gratitude keeps on coming since the release of Curlee Girlee in 2016, as well as a blog inspired by the book, where dozens of girls and women are participating in writing on why they love their natural hair. The book has allowed curly hair to be seen positively, and the blog is “a nice, safe place to feel good about who they are,” Twersky said, adding that there is even a waiting list for the blog.