Ann, almost fifteen, is the youngest child in this otherwise happy household; her older sister, Jane, is also in high school, while her older brother, Nick, is currently away at college. She also has a grandmother, a best friend, and other concerned people in the picture, and her parents are still very much in love.
During the course of this slim novel, ballerina Ann continues to find joy in dancing after school, almost wishing the barre were there whenever she needed to alleviate her anxiety and dance her worries away. She also has a growing appreciation for fine arts: she knits leg warmers with her grandmother, cuts and fringes scarves with her cousin, and creates pots, dishes, batiks, and other things in Ms. Smith's art class at school.
This wonderfully heartfelt story was inspired by the author's daughter and how she reacted when her mother was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The text is aided with black-and-white illustrations by Nicole Wong which are as lovely as the story itself. I will definitely be seeking out more books from both Andrea Cheng and Nicole Wong.
Brushing Mom's Hair is appropriate for a wide range of ages. Teenagers will relate to Ann due to her age, and dancers and dancers of any age will enjoy her artistic endeavors. Younger kids will be drawn in (no pun intended) by the illustrations. Families, especially those who have been touched by cancer, should and will share this book.
Brushing Mom's Hair will be available in September.
I Am a Dancer
Tough Issues for Teens
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Person