Book Reviews

Review: Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and illustrated by Robyn Smith

This series of vignettes in graphic novel form is a fabulous and gorgeous read. As a whole it’s a testament to the importance of rituals and hair, friendship and love. Wash Day Diaries is a touching graphic novel that’s perfect for fans of friendship stories. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Wash Day Diaries tells the story of four best friends—Kim, Tanisha, Davene, and Cookie—through five connected short story comics that follow these young women through the ups and downs of their daily lives in the Bronx.

The book takes its title from the wash day experience shared by Black women everywhere of setting aside all plans and responsibilities for a full day of washing, conditioning, and nourishing their hair. Each short story uses hair routines as a window into these four characters’ everyday lives and how they care for each other.

Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith originally kickstarted their critically acclaimed, award-winning slice of life mini comic, Wash Day, inspired by Rowser’s own wash day ritual and their shared desire to see more comics featuring the daily lived experiences of young Black women. Wash Day Diaries includes an updated, full color version of this original comic—which follows Kim, a 26-year-old woman living in the Bronx—as the book’s first chapter and expands into a graphic novel with short stories about these vibrant and relatable new characters.

In expanding the story of Kim and her friends, the authors pay tribute to Black sisterhood through portraits of shared, yet deeply personal experiences of Black hair care. From self-care to spilling the tea at an hours-long salon appointment to healing family rifts, the stories are brought to life through beautifully drawn characters and different color palettes reflecting the mood in each story.

At times touching, quiet, triumphant, and laugh out loud funny, the stories of Wash Day Diaries pay a loving tribute to Black joy and the resilience of Black women.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Wash Day Diaries is a celebration of friendship. Centered around the wash day experiences of these Black women, it’s a story of ritual, self-care, and acceptance. Not only is it about the ways we take care of ourselves, but also how we take care of others. These vignettes were touching glimpses into friendships and personal journeys. It’s tender not only in how our hair impacts our sense of self, but how it can be a signal of affection and love.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

With a gorgeous illustration style, I read Wash Day Diaries in an evening and then read it again later that night. The colorwork is phenomenal. Wash Day Diaries also explores the stigma of mental health. If you love friendship stories, how influential hair is, and graphic novels, this is for you. Find Wash Day Diaries on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite Black MC in a graphic novel?

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