ONLY A TRENZA AWAY: A TALE OF TRUST AND STRENGTH, by Nadine Fonseca and Camila Carrossine, Shadow Mountain, Aug. 8, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
A girl learns that the love of her family is never far away in Only a Trenza Away, written by Nadine Fonseca and illustrated by Camila Carrossine.
Every night, Xiomara’s (zee-oh-MA-da) papa delicately braids her hair before bed. As he gently tugs and twists and tightens her hair, father and daughter embark on imaginative and fun adventures as he makes up stories about Xia and her trenzas, or “braids” in Spanish.
In one story, her trenza becomes a sturdy twisted vine that she uses to bravely swing through the jungle. In another, her trenzas are jump ropes as she catches the beat to play double Dutch with the best players in the neighborhood.
But Xia worries what she would do if Papa was not there to help her in a real adventure―like starting a new school. Could the strength Xia needs already be woven into her braids? —Synopsis provided by Shadow Mountain
Only a Trenza Away celebrates the tradition of braiding hair. In this book, it’s the girl’s father who is passing on the tradition. He learned to help braid his sisters’ hair as a child in Guatemala. He helped until his sisters could braid their hair on their own. He explains that someday, Xiomara won’t need his help anymore either.
Through his braiding, Papa is teaching Xiomara that though she’ll need to be brave, patient, focused, curious and ambitious when trying new things, she’ll never be alone. It’s a beautiful idea that plays out through thoughtful text and imaginative illustrations.
Only a Trenza Away is a gentle story of love and reassurance that’s a great option any time, but particularly strikes a chord heading into the back-to-school season.
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