Interview with Tina Olajide, Author of Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair

EmisCurlyCoilyCottonCandy-mdEmi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair
by Tina Olajide
Illustrator: Courtney Bernard
Page Count: 32
Genre: Picture book
Price: $8.99 (currently $6.95)
Available at:, Amazon Europe (UK, France, Spain, Germany & Italy)
Coming Soon to Kindle

Synopsis: Meet Emi, a seven-year-old girl with a BIG imagination. In this story she describes her Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair and what makes it so great. A step by step healthy hair guide.

©Tina Olajide Author Photo1Hello Tina Olajide!  Welcome to Inside The Books. How are you doing today? First, I want to say that I love the illustrations. They are very inviting and immediately drew me in making me want to know more. Please tell us a little bit about Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair and how the idea of her book came to you?

Thank you for inviting me and I’m very well thank you. I’m glad you like the illustrations–it was the part that took the longest. I had a clear vision of Emi and the illustrations for every page. I had exacting standards because I wanted the visual impact to be immediate. Courtney Bernard is a wonderful illustrator and she really listened to my art direction and helped to bring Emi to life.

Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair is an introduction to Emi and tells a story about the beauty of natural hair. It is a first glimpse into Emi’s world through the subject of hair, but more importantly the message is about loving who you are. The idea for the book came from my desire to create a heroine that little girls and boys could appreciate and for them to see aspects of themselves in Emi. Images are powerful and seeing yourself reflected in the books you read affirms your presence and your voice. I love storytelling, through words, images and sounds.

Emi Bedroom IllustrationCan you share with us any unknown facts about the book? Like something that appeared in the first draft that was edited out by the final draft or some interesting background story you have about Emi.

Originally I didn’t want Emi to wear pink, I like the colour, but I considered other colour combinations instead and nothing seemed to work as well. So, pink it is!

Without giving too much of the story away, can you tell us about the main character and her journey?

This first story is an introduction to Emi, her personality, her point of view and overall confidence. The subject is textured hair and the message is self-love.

How do you relate to Emi and her journey?

Emi is a character with elements of me as a child, but amplified. Her journey from book to book will reveal more and more about who she is, her interests, challenges and her sense of discovery and adventure.

Emi Washing Hair IllustrationWhat is the one of your favorite things about Emi?

Her imagination. She thinks creatively and has a cool way of looking at things. By extension she is inquisitive and interested in the world around her. Emi is often thinking about the how and why.

If I was able to talk to Emi right now, how would she answer this questions: If there was one thing you could tell readers to look forward to as the read your adventure what would it be? 

Colourful illustrations with an important message!

Is Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair the first book in a series of Emi adventures.

Yes, it is. Future books will explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the arts through Emi’s eyes. You will also meet Emi’s friends in other stories and adventures.

Do you have any events coming up that you would like to share?

No events just yet, but sign up to the Emi’s Friends Newsletter on for behind the scenes exclusives and announcements about all things Hey Emi.

Emi Illustration page 4One of the most recent social sites that I’ve started using is Instagram (InsideTheBooks_Kidlit). Which social site do you like to use the most?

Emi has a presence on Pinterest (heyemiboard), Facebook (heyemipage), Twitter (heyemisays) and we just joined Instagram (heyemigram) too. I like all of them for different reasons and all four platforms allow Emi to connect with new friends every day.

Great! Thank your for your time and I know all of us wish you much success. 


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