Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Curly-Haired Characters on the Cover

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A red headed woman with long, curly hair standing in front of a wall plastered over with magazine covers.
This isn’t me, but my hair is similar to a brunette version of hers.

I have naturally curly hair that ranges from Type 2C (wavy/loose curls) to something a little curlier than Type 3B (springy ringlets) depending on which part of my head you’re looking at, how recently I’ve washed and moistured it, how humid or dry the air is, and a million other factors that anyone who knows curly hair no doubt is already well aware of.

When I was a kid, I’d always get so excited to see a curly-haired person included on a book cover or described in a story.

Sometimes that was the deciding factor in whether I read a book!

I grew up in a community that was so homogenous that even minor differences in human appearance like this were hard to find.

And I’m saying that as someone who is Caucasian. I’m sure the small number of classmates I had who were from other racial backgrounds yearned for representation of people who looked like them even more than I did.

Representation matters.

While there’s still plenty of work to do in this area, I’m glad publishers are doing a better job these days of representing characters from a wider range of backgrounds.

This week I’m going to be sharing ten wonderful book covers featuring people who have curly hair.


The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley Book cover. Image on cover shows a woman with curly red hair sitting at a table and glaring at the reader.

1. The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley


Baby Girl by Lenora Adams book cover. Image on cover shows a young black woman wearing hoop earrings as she looks over her shoulder and has flowers tucked behind her ear.

2. Baby Girl by Lenora Adams

Nobody's Prize (Nobody's Princess, #2) by Esther M. Friesner book cover. Image on cover shows a white girl with long, curly brown hair standing and staring at a large aquarium.

3. Nobody’s Prize (Nobody’s Princess, #2) by Esther M. Friesner

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill book cover. Image on cover is a drawing of the heroine wearing her hair naturally in a big puff of gorgeous curls.

4. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Liar by Justine Larbalestier book cover. Image on cover shows a young black woman hiding her face in her hoodie.

5. Liar by Justine

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher book cover. Image on cover shows a blond woman staring off into the distance.

6. Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann book cover. Image on the cover shows a dark-skinned African-american girl dancing for joy while wearing a white, sleeveless top.

7. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann


8. The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier

Blue Flame (Perfect Fire Trilogy, #1) by K.M. Grant book cover. Image on cover shows a young woman with loosely curly brown hair standing outside by the ocean during a storm.

9. Blue Flame (Perfect Fire Trilogy, #1) by K.M. Grant

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo book cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of a woman who has a large, black Afro.

10. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo


92 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Curly-Haired Characters on the Cover

  1. I think curly wavy hair is something to be proud of and is beautiful in any color! I have always had very thin, mostly straight hair and always dreamed of thick wavy hair past my shoulders. But I hear you about some communities where even having a different color hair is unusual. Thanks for your covers and your thoughts.

  2. Great list! But I’m biased because I also have curly hair. Mine are black and a bit like the women on the cover of The Liar or Baby Girl (but less kinky though).
    My favorite cover is definitely The Poet X!

  3. Great topic! I had curly hair as a kid (well, I still do lol but I wear it shorter nowadays) and I hated it! Ha.

    Great bunch of covers.

  4. I have to admit, as someone who’s hair can’t hold a curl without two hours work and plenty of chemicals, I’m super jealous of people who have naturally curly hair! It’s just so pretty!

  5. Great topic. I always wanted curly hair & used to perm it in HS! My hair was always to my lower back so that was a looong time in the chair! Lol. I immediately thought of the Bravely cover too! Gorgeous!

    • Heh, thanks! It’s interesting to see how many people wish they had a different texture of hair. I wished for straight hair when I was a kid. LOL.

  6. Great choice and selections, Lydia. I agree that we like to see people like us represented in books or on covers. That is why I like Judy Leigh’s books so much as her characters are usually over the age of 60. Thanks for making me think today.

    • Thank you! I’ll have to look her books up. Which one do you recommend starting with? You’re right that there aren’t enough books out there about characters who are 60 or older.

  7. Your choice for the prompt is so great I’m really enjoying all the creativity. Wow, I really need to get around to reading these. As a curly-haired girl myself, I loved seeing these covers, thanks for sharing!

  8. What a great topic choice, I love it! I am loving that cover for The Stolen one. Representation definitely matters, I’m glad these exist. I’ve always had the most pin straight hair that will not for the life of me hold any kind of curl or wave so I have always thought curly hair was so beautiful! I remember a friend of mine and her mom with super curly hair talking about the difficulties, but also how special it made them feel (she has naturally very red curly hair) and I think that’s what so important to capture. I love that there is so much diversity with how we all look and hope publishers continue to highlight that.

  9. That’s a great choice for this week’s topic! My loosely-wavy hair got a lot curlier in my thirties, so that if I let it dry on its own in high humidity, I’ve practically got ringlets. And you are so right; representation matters. I’ve spent too much time trying to blow-dry my hair straight. Maybe if I had seen more photos and book covers with lovely curly-haired people on them, I would have had an easier time embracing my curly hair when it came along. I’m glad to see more curls on book covers, as well as a broader ethnic/racial/cultural diversity represented.

    • Thank you. Your hair sounds gorgeous.

      And, yeah, I think having more representation would make it easier to embrace curly hair (among many, many other traits) for sure.

    • Thank you.

      And, yes, Anne would totally count. She almost always has straight hair in the TV/film adaptations, but I believe that Anne of Green Gables did describe her hair as red and curly.

  10. I really love this whole post. I love that not only did you choose something that matter to you, but you also used it to advocate for others.

    I also wanted to say that I’ve always wanted curly hair and I know people with curly hair often want straight hair. We want what we can’t/don’t have, right?

  11. This is such an interesting take on the prompt. I’ve been on a hair journey to embrace my own waves/curls after years of heat styling, and it’s so interesting to hear other people’s!

  12. I have a cousin with super curly hair; i was always so jealous because my hair is so straight an texture free it won’t even hold a bobby pin for an updo. And she was always telling me, be thankful that I don’t have to try and brush it out…Great topic!

  13. Fun that you used a personal thing to you to make the list. Don’t think I’ve read any of these, but I’ve owned The Freemason’s Daughter for years now. We’ll see if I read it. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland this week. Appreciate it.

  14. That’s actually so true — and definitely very rare to find heroines with curly hair! The most recent one that comes to mind is Jennifer Armintrout’s Wicked trilogy where the heroine was told she looked like the Disney princess from “Brave”.

  15. Imagine the thinnest and straightest hair you can think of and you can see my hair. I always wanted long hair, wavy hair, dark hair, anything I didn’t have. I am sure we are all the same there. But yes, my favourite is still thick, curly hair. And I admire anyone who has it an can change their hairstyle as often as they like.
    Such a great choice for a topic. Thanks for that.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week which has books with maps on the cover.

    • You’re welcome.

      Yes, I think we all sometimes yearn for physical features we don’t have. I know I’ve wished for straight hair in the past. 🙂

  16. What a great topic! Very, very unique. I have curly/wavy hair, which can become quite frizzy (if I blow dry my hair, I look like a lion), and it definitely took my some time to accept and like it especially being surrounded by women with hair different than my own.

  17. I have curly hair too, sounds like quite similar to yours, kind of wavy loose curls but it does get more ringlet-y just after I’ve washed it/or when I’ve had it in plaits. I don’t think I’ve ever owned any books with curly haired girls on the cover, but I do remember one of the reasons I was super excited reading Harry Potter as a kid was that I was so happy that Hermione had hair like mine!
    My TTT:

  18. Fun idea for a post! My hair is stick straight, but my daughter—who is adopted and bi-racial—has very thick, curly hair. We struggled with it a lot until we found the right hairdresser and she got old enough to care for it herself! It’s always fun to see people on book covers who look like her, both in terms of hair and skin color. I also think publishers are doing better and better at this, which is awesome. It truly does make a difference.

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


  19. Nice choice! My daughter has loose curls, and I wish she would embrace them and be proud of them. Hopefully she will some day.

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