“I knew what it felt like to want to be the best at something.”
J. Dillard’s debut book will have readers laughing, learning, fist-pumping, and page-flipping as they get to know young J.D. He wears his hair in cornrows. Now it’s time for his first real haircut…
J.D. doesn’t have a cool dad to cut his hair into a hi-top fade or the money for him to get it cut at Hart and Son, the local barbershop. His hard-working mom ties to give him a basic fade, but what he gets instead is: “not good.”
J.D. is scrappy and smart. He decides he better take matters into his own hands or the kids at school will “never run out of cracks” about the mess on top of his head. After a failed attempt with his mom’s hair relaxer (“How bad could it really be?”), and a practice session on his little brother (“I want to teach you a new game. It’s called Barbershop.”), J.D. lands on a plan.
“I took the clippers, looked in the mirror, and thought about how everyone would react once they saw my sick fade.”
He cuts his own hair…and is proud of his results. His classmates soon ask him to cut their hair, too, and he develops a little hair-cutting business. As his business grows, so does his pile of money, his candy jar, and his confidence. When the town barber, Henry Hart Jr., finds out that J.D. is stealing all his clients, he threatens to shut down his bedroom barbershop. In response, J.D. challenges him to a barber battle to decide “who’s the best barber in town?” The battle is on…
J. Dillard’s debut book is filled with haircuts and humor…but it’s also about community, being creative, fitting in, and standing out. It’s a book that’s fun to read, with a healthy opportunity to learn some on-the-ground financial literacy fundamentals. Readers will cheer for J.D. as he pushes down barriers that keep him from being his dope self.
Mom always told me that we had everything we needed and it wasn’t polite to expect others to just give us stuff. But with my barbershop, I could work for all those extras I wanted. Plus it made me feel special. No one else at school could do what I did!
J.D. and the Great Barber Battle is a perfect read for students across multiple grade levels. At a mere 104 pages, J.D. is easily accessible for younger reader/listeners. The pacing is brisk and the storyline is easy to follow. Families will enjoy the diverse dynamics of J.D.’s home life and will find ample opportunities to bring discussions to their dinner table.