Wash Day Diaries (Paperback)
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.
Robyn Smith is a Jamaican cartoonist known for illustrating DC Comics' Nubia: Real One (written by L.L. McKinney) and her mini-comic The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town. She has an MFA from the Center for Cartoon Studies and has worked on comics for College Humor and The Nib. She loves cake and cats and holds onto dreams of returning home to the ocean.
"At its core, this graphic novel is a story about four beautiful, strong black women and their friendship. Within the framework of hair wash day, we see each character dealing with her own issues, from work and relationships to mental health struggles."
-Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune
"With a gorgeous illustration style, memorable characters, and a seamless blend of humor and heart, it feels like a warm hug in graphic novel form."
"Wash Day Diaries uses interwoven short stories on each character's hair routines as analogies to their daily life, showing how the process of caring for their hair sparks joy."
"Smith’s charming and inviting art invites comic book readers old and new to lose themself in this joyful and touching celebration of Black joy and sisterhood that cements the duo of Rowser and Smith as one of comics most powerful creative teams."
"A loving tribute to Black women and their community with a humorous day in the life graphic novel."
- Cultured Vultures
Starred Review "The motif of wash day- as the women wash their own hair and others’, go to the salon, and get braids-invites the reader into the rhythm of their lives, with welcome inclusivity of queer romance, as well as non romantic story lines. This subtle but heartwarming homage to friendship, feminism, and reconciliation sings."
"Wash Day Diaries is both whimsical and incredibly real. It is as refreshing and restorative a narrative for the soul as a wash day is to your hair. One of my favorite reads of the last year - I think this team is unstoppable, and the new voice of slice of life comics."
-Vita Ayala (New Mutants, The Wilds)
"Wash Day Diaries is the kind of thoughtful and engaging slice of life comic we rarely get in US publishing, and it feels even more vital and unique for that reason. Rowser and Smith are an unbelievable creative force and this book proves that they’re one to be reckoned with."
"Jamila Rowser and artist Robyn Smith’s beautiful graphic novel is a heartwarming celebration and tribute to life, friendships, and Black hair."
- Apartment Therapy
"A graphic novel love letter to Black women’s friendships and hair...each story features a unique color palette to reflect the protagonist and mood."