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My Hair is a Garden

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  398 ratings  ·  90 reviews
After a day of being taunted by classmates about her unruly hair, Mackenzie can't take any more. On her way home from school, she seeks the guidance of her wise and comforting neighbor, Miss Tillie. Using the beautiful garden in her backyard as a metaphor, Miss Tillie shows Mackenzie that maintaining healthy hair is not a chore nor is it something to fear. But most ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2018 by Albert Whitman Company
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
It is very limiting to get your supplemental education solely through children’s books when you’re an adult. Continuing education, in whatever form it takes, should be pursued through a variety of sources. Yet for many of us in the children’s literature industry, your reading time might be relegated to books for kids due to your work. In many ways, this is fine. I’ve probably learned more about obscure historical figures, poetic forms, stars, hyenas, math, and grammar through books for kids than ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Picture-Books About Black Hair & Beauty
Distraught at being teased in school about her hair, MacKenzie runs to her neighbor Miss Tillie's house, sure that she will find some answers there. Not only is there a glory to Miss Tillie's house, with its beautiful garden, there is a glory to Miss Tillie herself, with her beautiful hair. Listening with compassion, MacKenzie's neighbor agrees to help her, using the metaphor of the garden to show her that there are many, equal kinds of beauty, and that all of those kinds require nurturing...

MacKenzie (Mack) is tired of being teased about her black hair at school. It is wild and difficult to tame. Her mother cannot help her and she doesn't need cuddles or hugs, she wants knowledge and wisdom so she heads to the only person she knows who can help her: Miss Tillie, who lives four houses down and whose home is a solace. With her guidance, she teaches Mack about how to look after her hair but, much more importantly, about how gardening her body and mind is also important for a healthy ...more
Emily Holmes
A wordy picture book. But worth the words when you have trouble with your hair. A great book for children of who struggle with their differences. I love the informative section at the back with specific instruction in how to care for black hair.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: public-library
Absolutely beautiful book. I wish I could give it a thousand stars! Definitely a book I will buy for my personal library.
Baby Bookworm
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! Our book today is My Hair Is A Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera, a lovely and empowering ode to black hair.

Mackenzie has always loved Miss Tillie’s home – a sanctuary as warm and inviting as the woman who inhabits it. So when Mack is humiliated once again for her short, unruly hair, she runs to Miss Tillie for a cry. Mack’s hair has always been especially hard to style – even her own
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My literacy education professor used to give us preservice teachers selections like My Hair is a Garden to analyze. What made it a valuable picture book? What would you have to frontload for children before a read aloud? I can tell you, the pros outweigh the cons with this one.

It is wordy for its page-length (akin to a Patricia Polacco gem) and likewise, there is a lot conveyed. A lot to unpack. It touches on a wide-range of issues, from bullying to black hair care. Most poignantly, self-esteem
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This children’s book is going to be very popular I think as we talk about hair issues and hair drama more openly, more people will have the skills and understanding to successfully help and advocate. Being in a small town where good product or knowledgable beauticians were not always the norm, and with recent battles about acceptable hair for military personnel, it is a timely topic.

It’s the story of a young woman trying to deal with her unruly natural hair. There is good solid advice about how
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
The art in this is exciting with all of its textures and colors. In one scene MacKenzie is sitting under a Japanese maple and there are tiny details everywhere, down to the stripes all over her socks. Also, those endpapers.When I saw the care instructions and recipes in the back I got even more excited for the kids who will read this because I remember how excited I was for the "extras" authors would include (I was the girl who made her parents help her make Thunder Cake from the recipe in the ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Miss Tillie looked at me. 'Is that Japanese maple prettier than those succulents?' she asked.
'Of course not!' I said.
'Even though that Japanese maple's taller?' she asked.
'They're both beautiful,' I said. 'Even though they're so different.'
As the words came out of my mouth, I knew that I believed it."
Black Carrie
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good BOOK about self confidence damn I hate a bully and mean kids but this book and art work was eye catching
Elaine Fultz
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this is a little wordy for a picture book, it is informative AND inspiring, so I'm glad it's wordy. A care primer and a celebration of Black hair.
Stunning book with a lovely story and great extras at the end for hair care!
Hannah Elsayed
This book is about a girl called Mack that has been bullied for her hair. Her mother did not know what to do with it and so Mack went to Miss Tillies house for advice. Miss Tillie had the same hair texture as Mack and was able to guide Mack on how to care for it properly so it would look healthy like Miss Tillies although, this was hard for Mack to believe. Miss Tillie showed Mack her garden showing that your hair is like a garden and all you need to give is care, time and attention and it will ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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This is a beautiful story for children that may struggle with having hair they deem 'unmanageable'. Over the last ten years, there has been a huge movement to help young girls finally gain confidence in themselves and their hair--mainstream beauty standards be damned. What I love most about this story is how it weaves in proper hair care tips and even includes a moisturizing recipe right on the back.

My son and daughter both
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. I wish it had gone on with the story for just a few more pages, but in actuality, I knew the point had been made.

As in the story, starting out as little girls, hair is a serious issue for Black women. If your mother does not know how to care for your hair, and style it, you are going to have problems and young MacKenzie does. Just as she had started doing as a toddler, she gravitated to the house of a neighbor, Miss Tillie, who uses her garden as a metaphor to teach
Viviane Elbee
The kids enjoyed this book and the comparaison between growing a garden & growing healthy hair. They also said it made them think about hair in a completely different way.

This is a longer book, text-wise, so it’s better for slightly older kids (elementary students). However because of the 3 pages of back-matter with hair care tips (and hair care product recipes!) I would also recommend it to parents who seek advice on keeping kids’ African-American hair healthy. Older preschoolers with
Jillian Heise
Beauitful, caring, and full of love. Provides affirmation for Black children who struggle with their hair, to take care and take pride in the beauty of it. Back matter has additional information specifically on how to take care of Black hair. Pair this with Happy Hair and Don't Touch My Hair!
T Crockett
Cabrera does a wonderful job of educating the reader and working in a life lesson without the book feeling at all like an after school special. The language and illustrations are beautiful. The difficulties the main characters face and the beautiful moments too are everyday sorts of things. This book is a jewel. It's "about" black hair, but you don't have to be black to enjoy it.
Cara Byrne
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such a glorious picture book that celebrates so much at once: the relationship between a young girl and a non-relative/non-teacher adult woman who serves as her role model, an introduction to the mindful and loving care of Black hair, and a connection between the beauty and diversity of hair to the care given to urban gardens. Lovely.
Marissa Parker
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
sarah diehl
this is a LOVELY and IMPORTANT picture book. it is educational for EVERYONE. several books address black hair care (Happy to Be Nappy, Crown, etc.) - and more are needed! did you know that black hair should never be towel dried - rather it should be allowed to drip dry? or that coarser hair needs sealants - like butters, or leave in conditioner?

a young black girl, MacKenzie, is teased about her hair. her neighbor, Miss Tillie, teaches her that hair needs to be tended, just like a garden. when
A lovely story about a girl who learns to accept her hair even when it's wild and seemingly impossible to make look nice. Through the help of Miss Tillie MacKenzie learns to love herself and is able to look at her hair in a new way rather than through the eyes of the people that bully her because of it. After reading this book I was left with such a heartwarming feeling, following someone's journey to self-acceptance (even if it's only learning to love a part of themselves more than before) is ...more
Natasha Brown
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing

My Hair is a Garden
After a day of being taunted by classmates about her unruly hair, Mackenzie can’t take anymore 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.

My Review of My Hair is a Garden
This is a beautiful story for children that may
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ralyn Tyler
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
As I was searching books for my school project, I came across this name. Its name is inspiring and graceful, so, I had to see what it was about. "My Hair is a Garden" is about a young African American girl named Mackenzie. She understands that she has wild and big hair, however, she is teased because if. Mackenzie has had enough with being bullied over her hair that she seeks guidance from a neighbor that shows her that her hair is like a garden.
I felt this book was great for my collection
Amanda Brooke
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like the analogy of loving the succulents and the maple tree - along with how do you make your garden grow. The book ends with tips about how to care for black hair. I had never heard of Cozbi A. Cabrera, she is described as having written several books but I am too isolated in my world to have noticed them before. I visited her website and I could not get over what I have been missing. She makes beautiful art. I look forward to adding her books to my ...more
Margaret Boling
7/1/2019 ~ A visually stunning story of MacKenzie's struggles with her hair. The story of Mack's experiences at school - wearing a hat when she's not supposed to, getting teased by her classmates, feeling down trodden - is powerful. As a teacher, Mack's story is an important reminder of the ways in which students' physical appearance impact their social standing in the class. When Mack tells her older friend, Miss Tillie, my mama"doesn't know what to do with it," it's also a reminder that ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebook
The best gardens are well-cared for and full of a variety of plants to create a visual tapestry. MacKenzie is teased at school for her messy kinky hair, so she goes to her neighbor for help. Miss Tillie compares hair to a garden and gives her tips (Full descriptions of the tips on black hair care in the back) and encouragement on the glories and creative possibilities for black hair. Given the central importance of black hair care, this book is a must-have in any children's library collection.
I love this picture book's blend of practical and philosophical. Through a mentorship from another neighborhood black woman, MacKenzie is taught to value and care for her hair. I loved the use of some sophisticated word choices, making this probably more appropriate for ages 5 and up. The pictures are really incredible, and I think all children could read this for more insight into how much work it takes to be a black woman - but also the joy of this experience as well.
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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.