Giving Back

Fade to Books: Two Montclair Barbers Give Free Haircuts In Exchange for Reading

Credits: Cindy C. A. Pereira

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair barbers Mahir Abdul-Hakim of Mahir’s Unisex Barbershop, located at 320 Orange Rd, and Marc Williams of Young’s World of Beauty, located at 307 Orange Rd # A, are offering a free haircut for children ages 12 and under for free. However, there is a catch. The free cut is in exchange for them reading a book aloud while getting their hair cut.

In order to participate, children are asked to go to either barbershop during the listed hours and tell the barber they are ready to read for a haircut. Calling ahead is preferred.

TAPinto Montclair caught up to Abdul-Hakim to ask what inspired him to launch this initiative. He said, "Mr. Young was the inspiration." Abdul-Hakim is referring to Celess Young, who owned Young's World of Beauty and cut hair in Montclair for nearly 30 years. He said that Young served as a father figure for him and so many other African-American males in Montclair.

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"We looked up to him," he continued. "When you have very few African-American men and you've been told for a lifetime that you can't do something.  ...he instilled in us that we can do it."

Abdul-Hakim is no stranger to being at the forefront of community initiatives, he also has a large following of children with special needs that he caters to. Parents who bring their children to his shop for haircuts state that Abdul-Hakim and his staff is gentle and understanding to the needs of children with disabilities, and particularly children with autism.

Abdul-Hakim closed by saying that he wants to inspire children to read and thank the Montclair Public Library for their support and vision for this initiative. "I'm trying to get kids back to reading." 

This initiative is being supported by the Montclair Public Library.

Participating children will then be eligible to enter the Montclair Public Library’s monthly drawing for Movie Tickets, Comics, Books & other prizes and they will be allowed to pick out a free, new book. East Side Mags and Watchung booksellers donated the raffle prizes.

For event updates go to

or follow #MPLFade2Books on social media.

For more info: or call: 973744-0500 ext. 2236.


Ages 12 & under

  • Young’s World of Beauty, 307 Orange Rd #A, Montclair

Sundays, April 15, 22 & 29, 10am-12pm (Please call ahead: 973-783-1390)

  • Mahir’s Unisex Barber Shop, 320 Orange Rd, Montclair

Saturdays, April-August, 7am-1pm & 2pm-5pm (Please call ahead: 973-744-2026)


The Montclair Public Library

50 South Fullerton Avenue

Montclair, NJ 07042

Tel: 973-744-0500 ext. 2236

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