Review of "Josey Johnson's Hair and the Holy Spirit" by Esau McCaulley.
“Josey Johnson’s hair is a wonderful adventure — it’s different all the time! Some days it’s a ponytail or pigtails or a curly afro. And some days Josey’s hair has a mind of its own!” So begins author Esau McCaulley’s spirited portrayal of a girl who feels the pain of being different because her hair is unlike that of the girls at school. When Josey’s dad takes her to the salon to get her hair braided in preparation for the Pentecost celebration at All Nations Church, Josey shares her dismay with Dad: “I’m thinking about how my hair isn’t like a lot of other girls’ hair.”
Dad patiently asks questions to help his daughter fathom the diversity of God’s creation: “Josey, when God created the world, was there just one kind of fish or thousands? … And when it was time to create the flowers, did God make them all red? Or all the same shape?” Josey realizes that God made people all different shapes and colours. Dad points out that Josey’s hair and skin are “God’s work of art.”
After Josey’s hair is braided, Dad takes her shopping for a red dress for Pentecost, and Josey asks Dad questions about Pentecost. Skillfully, Dad interweaves their previous conversation about the differences between people into his answers to point Josey to the awesome truth of Pentecost: “Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is for all people, no matter what language they speak, the colour of their skin, or the curl of their hair. That’s what we celebrate on Pentecost!”
Illustrator LaTonya’s vibrant artwork complements author Esau McCaulley’s eloquent enfolding of the truth of Pentecost into the fictional story of a girl finding her place in God’s world.