A father’s love for his daughter is joyfully expressed during their nightly routine when he braids her hair and shares imaginative bedtime stories.
Every night Xia’s father delicately braids her hair before bed. As he gently tugs and twists and tightens her hair, they embark on imaginative and fun adventures as he makes up stories about Xia and her trenzas, or braids. 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.
One night, after story time, Xia worries what she would do if Papa is not there to help her in a real adventure. Papa shares with her the most important story of all:
Papa says, “There will be adventures, like going to your new school, when you’ll need to be brave, patient, focused, and curious. And while you might be on your own, you’ll never be alone, mi’ja.
Papa finished brushing her hair and carefully parted it into three sections.
“This section will remind you of the people who love you deeply.”
“This one is for the many people who need your love for them.”
“And this one . . . this will help you remember to love yourself exactly as you are now and who you hope to be. They are stronger woven together and will help protect your hair and your heart.”
Nadine Fonseca is on a mission to build a brighter, kinder, and more inclusive future, one young reader at a time. She founded Mighty Kind, an educational multimedia company for families that aims to use the simple and universal concept of kindness as a bridge to antiracist/anti-bias learning. Only a Trenza Away is her debut children’s picture book and is based on some of her fond childhood memories. Nadine is neurodivergent, a biracial Latina, wife, and mother of four. She holds an MBA and believes that everyone, big or small, has the power to change the world.
Camila Carrosine is Brazilian and lives in São Paulo. She has been drawing since she was a little girl and grew up with pencils and paper. Camila graduated in fine arts and studied art direction. Camila considers herself a visual storyteller and loves to mix traditional and digital techniques in her illustrations. She divides her time between her children’s book projects and animated films. She loves books, traveling, and walking barefoot.