A Garden in My Hands

Knopf. Apr. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593427101.
PreS-Gr 1–There is a wedding tomorrow, and an unnamed young girl is having henna lovingly applied to her hands by her mother. Mama infuses each line and swirl with memories and stories that are important to their shared history, creating a symbolic garden on her daughter’s skin. The girl must keep her henna safe as long as she can to ensure that the pigment becomes the deep red she desires, but doing so is easier said than done. This vibrant and colorful story describes henna in a heartfelt and accessible way. Every page incorporates a riot of color and myriad details, inviting readers to look closely and examine the complexity of the images before moving onto the next spread. Short, poetic text paints a subtle yet lovely picture that may be lost on younger readers, but it will resonate with elementary-aged children. At the end of the book, a page of information is included that provides more extensive details about henna for readers less familiar with this tradition. Filled with love, imagination, and just the right amount of whimsy, this is a colorful introduction to how henna is used, especially in South Asian cultures.
VERDICT This vibrant story is a positive addition to diverse picture book collections for young readers.

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