Alopecia is a prominent issue affecting Black women at staggering rates. Despite the difficulties the autoimmune disease can bring to many, six-year-old Deléna Thompson decided to empower other children who have endured similar struggles.
In a soul-stirring tale, Thompson has released an illustrated book titled “I Am Not My Hair” as an ode to children across the world to remind them “even though I don’t have any hair, I am still me,” Metro.co.uk reports.
Thompson first learned about her diagnosis after her mother Telena Longmore found a small area on her scalp was missing hair in 2019. As her situation worsened, she was forced to seek treatment from a specialist who shared the news that her hair may never grow back, according to the outlet.
Deeply saddened and stricken by fear of what her peers would think, she attempted various styles to cover up the condition. Over time, as it became clear the condition was not improving, her mother suggested she too would shave her head to support her daughter’s newfound hair journey.
When Thompson returned to school, she received love and encouragement from parents and teachers.
Now in her new chapter as an author, she hopes her book will sow seeds of encouragement and teach others not to judge those who don’t fit society’s standards.
“I feel OK about having alopecia because I’ve learnt about why I have it and I know that having alopecia can not stop me,” Thompson said. “I want people to be aware of alopecia and I want people to stop bullying people who have this condition, or look different. I want anyone who feels or looks different to know that they are not alone. They are loved and they will always have a friend in me.”
The book will be released under Juliet Coley’s BlakJac Media — Europe’s only publishing house dedicated to Black children. As a cancer survivor, Coley was compelled to work with Thompson due to the opportunity to spearhead away from more commonly shared narratives surrounding natural hair.
“There are so many books out there about young Black girls embracing their beautiful and natural hair and after learning of Deléna’s hair journey I was impressed by the courage and strength she exhibited having none and thought her story would make a great book,” Coley said, according to Metro.co.uk.
The book “I Am Not My Hair,” which is illustrated by Malika-Zaynah Grant is now available for purchase.