Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 4, 2020

Book Giveaway: MY HAIR IS MAGIC! by M. L. Marroquin

Maria Marroquin has written a new picture book, MY HAIR IS MAGIC!, illustrated by Tonya Engel. It’s published by Page Street Kids and will hit the bookstores on October 6th. PSK has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Maria and Tonya.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


This little girl knows her hair is great just as it is. When people ask, “Why is your hair so BIG?” she answers, “Why isn’t yours?” Her hair is soft, it protects her, it’s both gentle and fierce. While some might worry about how it’s different and try to contain it, she gives it the freedom to be so extraordinary it almost has a life of its own.

Told in bold verse and vivid, fantastical illustrations, these critical questions will ring familiar, and the proud, confident answers show that what really matters is how readers see themselves.


My Hair Is Magic! First started as an idea 13 years ago. When my eldest daughter was a toddler  I was constantly approached by strangers asking her ethnicity and the origin of her curls. Her race was ambiguous and  people were curious. As she got older her hair changed until this day she still gets asked about her ethnicity but less about her hair.

When my youngest daughter was born 7 years ago the opposite was true. Her hair was fairly straight, but as she got older her hair seemed to outgrow her in size. As a toddler she often wore her hair in an afro. I absolutely loved the fullness and character of her hair and the contrast to her small frame. Around this time I started to get questions about why her hair was undone or why was it so big. These questions perplexed me especially since I would spend an extraordinary amount of time combing and moisturizing her hair. Soon she was being asked, “why is your hair so big?” or “why wasn’t it styled in braids or a ponytail?” I noticed that she didn’t know how to respond and worried that she would interpret these questions as there being something wrong with her hair. I decided that I would give her language and agency that would lead her to rejoice in her hair. At night I would have her repeat, “My hair is big, my hair is beautiful, my hair is free!” The need to protect her led to reciting this nightly mantra until it became hers. By the time she was 4 years old she was able to independently and proudly respond to questions about her hair. She would twirl as she proudly proclaimed the magic of her hair.

I wrote down what started as a mantra because I was moved by the power it gave her to be proud. I then started adding to it until it became a poem. I would read the poem and would feel overwhelmed with emotion. The overpowering emotions partly came from being proud that my daughter was able to transform someone’s unseemly comments into a source of power and love. The other part of me wished she didn’t have to. I wondered how many other children or parents had this same experience and how maybe these same words could empower them just like it did Lilah.

A year or so later I began to research how to submit letters to publishing houses and which ones accept unagented submissions. I sent it to several but didn’t get any response. I continued working and making changes to it. Almost a year later I resubmitted it again but this time I got a response! I was elated when I saw an email from Page Street Kids expressing interest in my poem. I worked closely together with the editors. Their feedback pushed me to see different aspects of my writing and deepen it. I am grateful for the experience and editors I’ve had the privilege to work with on this project. I hope that everyone who reads My Hair is Magic! will be as moved when reading it as I was writing it.

M.L. Marroquin BIO:

M.L. Marroquin is a reading intervention teacher whose interests include drawing, watching movies, and going to the beach. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her two daughters, who she assures have beautiful hair any way they wear it. This is her debut picture book.


Tonya Engel is an artist who has had studios in New York, Paris, Austin and Houston, where she lives now. Figurative and full of symbolism, her work is influenced by both folk artists of the Deep South and contemporary masters like Frida Kahlo and Marc Chagnall. She is also the illustrator of Rise!, a children’s biography of Maya Angelou (Lee & Low, 2019).

Maria, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how this story evolved from you daughter and how you made her proud of her hair. I am glad there’s a book out there that will inspire kids to be proud of the things that make them different. Tonya did a wonderful job with the illustrations. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love this!


  2. The power of positivity! Looking forward to reading the words you chose to tell this beautiful, personal story, Maria and to enjoying Tonya’s brilliant illustrations!


    • Thank you!


  3. I haven’t even read the book yet and am moved with emotion! Maria, it’s sad that people are so easily critical and judgmental. It thrills me how you handled it how proud she is! 😀 And Tonya—GORgeous illustrations! Can’t wait to see this one. And Kathy, you know I follow your blog and share 😀 😉


    • Thank you! My experience as a parent really inspired me to empower my child and I hope it inspires others to celebrate what makes them special!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this story and the beautiful illustrations as well. I’d be thrilled to have a copy of this book on my shelf.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and shared an image on Pinterest too:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!


  5. Beautiful book, I loved hearing all the backstory to how it came about. Gorgeous art too–Good luck to you both! Thanks for sharing My hair is Magic Kathy–So glad your posts come to my inbox daily!


    • Thank you for your kind words. It was truly a labor of love.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats, M.L. and Tonya! (I RTed this giveaway, too)


  7. I love the story of how this book came to be! Thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading your blog daily


  8. Beautiful! I can’t wait to read this! Congrats and Happy Book Birthday!

    I follow your blog by email and I will tweet this post, Kathy. Love the books you share!


    • Thank you for your support! Happy reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a lovely story! I’m excited to read it. Congrats to you:)


    • Thank you!


  10. This one–I have to read. The illustrations have pulled me in.


  11. The illustrations have pulled me in. Can’t wait to read this one!


  12. Excited to read this beautiful book!


  13. What a fantastic idea for a book…and I love the illustrations! I can’t wait to read this book to my grandchildren! Retweeted!


  14. Thank you for all of the love and support!

    Liked by 1 person

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