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Hair Dance! Written by Dinah Johnson and photography by Kelly Ruthe Johnson (Photo: MacMillan Publishers)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 05 July 2024

Kelly Ruthe Johnson, a nationally recognized photographer and author based in Portland, Oregon, has announced the re-release of her acclaimed children's book, Hair Dance! Originally published in 2007, Hair Dance! is a celebration of young African-American girls embracing their natural hair. The book will be re-issued in July 2024 by Square Fish Books, and available at Powellsbooks.com.

The re-launch of Hair Dance! coincides with an exhibit of the same name, offering an immersive experience that showcases the essence of childhood beauty and joyful identities captured in the book.

 Hair Dance! was inspired by Kelly’s family business, Dean's Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, established in 1954 in Portland. Dean's continues to thrive in 2024, providing a rich backdrop for the book. Through evocative images, Hair Dance! captures the joy and self-expression of beautiful girls and their hair, celebrating identity, love and joy within the African American community. The book was honored as one of the best children’s books of 2008 by the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education.

 “I am incredibly excited about the re-release of Hair Dance,” said Johnson. “This book is a heartfelt celebration of the beauty and diversity of African American girls and their beautiful hair. I hope it continues to inspire self-love and confidence in young readers.”

Kelly’s photographic art extends beyond books to fine art and notecards. During her early career as a photojournalist for The Oregonian she captured images of notable figures, including President Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan and journalist Carl Bernstein. With 12 photographic exhibits noted by the press and features in various magazines and newspapers, Johnson’s work continues to receive national recognition.

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