J.D. and the Family Business (J.D. the Kid Barber #2)

by J Dillard (Author) Akeem S Roberts (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Eight-year-old kid barber J.D. joins forces with his sister, who has beauty shop dreams, in this hilarious illustrated chapter book series. J.D. is a barber battle champion. He's graduated from home haircuts to having a regular chair at the neighborhood shop, Hart and Son, and he's making enough money to keep his candy jar stocked and his comic book collection growing.

And yet, J.D. knows it's time for his next challenge. He doesn't just want to be the best barber in Meridian, Mississippi--he wants to be the best barber in the state . . . and maybe the country! When his older sister, Vanessa, starts to gain a following online for her hair tutorials, the kids decide that to truly level up, they must join forces. How do two siblings with big personalities, big ambitions, and competitive spirits work together (or not) to take over the hair world?

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School Library Journal

Gr 1-3—Fresh off his win at the Great Barber Battle, J.D. has been working at the barbershop for a couple of months now and is feeling like things are getting stale. After all, how many other eight-year-olds spend every Saturday working a job? When his sister Vanessa proposes that they start a YouTube channel so she can become a Hair Influencer, J.D. is willing to quit his Saturday job and give it a try. But almost immediately, the unthinkable happens and it seems he and best friend Jordan will be in debt for payback on a certain expensive camera until they're in high school. Can "The Southeast Star's Summer Vacation Showdown" provide them with a win, new subscribers, and a cash prize; or will they just end up as also-ran wannabes? This early-reader chapter book has lots of heart and lots of fun, along with lively black-and-white illustrations. There are plugs for college, hard work, honing your talents, and even Vacation Bible School. J.D. and his multigenerational family are African American, and their culture and community provide the backbone for this story. Perhaps the only stumble is that J.D. reads older than his supposed age of eight, as does his sister, who at age 10 sounds like she could be starting high school. Even so, this book will work well both for independent readers and as a read-aloud. VERDICT Everyone will root for J.D. and his mad barbering skills. A good choice for all libraries serving elementary-age readers.—Elizabeth Friend, Wester M.S., TX

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Praise for J.D. and the Great Barber Battle

★A surefire win of a read expressly made for young Black boys to cherish.
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Dillard has a sharp ear for dialogue, and J.D.'s conversational narration paired with the story's gentle humor and perfectly placed pop culture references will ensure a wide appeal. Akeem S. Roberts' cartoon-style illustrations of J.D. and his friends are packed with personality and make this a great choice for readers transitioning into chapter books. The first book in a planned series, J.D. and the Great Barber Battle feels like a winner."

The African American cultural references and community values will resonate with readers of all ages, while the joyful, wholesome story will give them something to look forward to in subsequent entries.
—The Horn Book
J Dillard
J. Dillard (known as the "Barberpreneur") is a master barber, a certified consultant, and an industry leader who started cutting his own hair at the age of ten. He began cutting hair professionally in 1999 and became a shop owner while attending college at Tuskegee University in Alabama. He travels the country with his clients as a personal barber and calls Atlanta home. This is his first book series for children.

Akeem S. Roberts is an illustrator based in Brooklyn. He works as an in-house animator for Holler Studios and contributes cartoons regularly to The New Yorker. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. When Akeem is not working, he likes to make comics about his day-to-day life on Instagram @AkeemTeam.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 20, 2021
J.D. the Kid Barber
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV013070 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
JUV045000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Chapter Books
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
Production and direction
Video recordings

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