Only a Trenza Away: A Tale of Trust and Strength

Shadow Mountain. Aug. 2023. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781639930982.
PreS-Gr 2–Every night, Xiomara looks forward to her father braiding her hair before bed. As he gently twists her hair into place, the pair share endlessly imaginative stories and adventures. Some stories find Xiomara traveling to the moon, while in others she explores the sea. No matter where the storytelling journey takes her, Xiomara knows she can do and accomplish anything with her father’s love. One night, after her father has to work late and misses their routine, Xiomara begins to fear how she will overcome new obstacles without her father by her side. When they reunite, her father warmly and lovingly explains that while she may have to face certain experiences on her own, such as attending a new school, she will never be alone as the love of her family, strength, and support is woven into her braids. Fonseca’s soft, calming text expertly explores universal feelings of anxiety and worry, the infinite love of family, as well as the cultural and community traditions of braiding. Carrossine’s colorful illustrations capture the out-of-this-world adventures as well as the relatable worries and fears. Xiomara and her family present as Latinx. A concluding author’s note discusses the history of braiding, as well as braiding traditions within Fonseca’s family.
VERDICT A touching and tender tale that will resonate with many readers.

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