FRIZZY by Claribel A. Ortega a #CYBILS 📚🎶 


By Claribel A. Ortega

Illustrated by Rose Bousamra

First Second Books

Middle Grade
Contemporary, Family, Growing Up, Realistic Fiction

Finalist – Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels
2023 CYBILS Awards

The Book


Frizzy by Claribel Ortega is an exploration of cultural expectations connected to hair and respectability. Marlene loves art and hanging out with her best friend. But she does not love having to go to the salon every week with her mother to get her curls straightened. Marlene pushes back against her mother’s and her family’s expectations for what her hair should look like and embraces the wisdom of her Tia Ruby. She learns not only to love her curls, but take care of them too. A fun coming-of-age story with amazing illustrations that encourages girls to embrace being themselves.

Richetta Tooley, Cocoa with Books


The Music


Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega is a beautiful coming-of-age story paired with a girl’s hair journey. As she ventures through her life, she finds her place in the world and stands up for herself and her hair even when facing bullies at school or her own family at home. This playlist reflects her determination with feel-good music and songs about self-love and hair positivity – showing that every kind of hair is perfect and equally beautiful.

The Girl

Riya Fernando

Riya is thrilled to be able to combine two of her favorite things: books and music. She is an avid reader who can often be found with her nose in a murder mystery while listening to contemporary piano music, her favorite genre of piano music to listen to and play. She was introduced to CYBILS Awards through her mother, Category Chair and CYBILS Awards Board Member, who helped Riya cultivate her love for books. She hopes that others will love these playlists as much as she does!

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