After a day of being taunted by classmates about her unruly hair, Mackenzie can’t take any more and she seeks guidance from her wise and comforting neighbor, Miss Tillie. Using the beautiful garden in the backyard as a metaphor, Miss Tillie shows Mackenzie that maintaining healthy hair is not a chore nor is it something to fear. Most importantly, Mackenzie learns that natural Black hair is beautiful. Ages 5–8.
About The Author
Cozbi A. Cabrera received a BFA from Parsons School of Design. She is the illustrator of several acclaimed children’s picture books and she also designs clothes and makes cloth dolls that have garnered the attention of collectors around the world and have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Read Aloud Tips
- Introduce the author by showing them photos of some of the dolls that she makes and reading her bio. Ask them to make guesses as to what is important to the author and what she is trying to do with her work.
- Use the language wall to define the word metaphor and come up with examples of metaphors.
- Throughout the book, ask students to describe what is going on and what they think will happen next.
- Have students draw pictures of themselves and highlight their favorite feature.
“Strikes an effective balance between encouraging self-confidence and explaining step-by-step self improvement; even as Miss Tillie teaches MacKenzie the importance of washing and combing her hair, the older woman reminds the girl that her hair is a garden, and she needs to feed it with love.” – The Horn Book Magazine