A real-life blending-in story: by Jenn Ryan

Day 4 of the 10-day countdown to the book's release.


I was in 5th grade when we moved to a new house. It had a very long driveway, which is where my story takes a turn.

I have very curly hair. It does whatever it wants to. My mother has very straight hair. It does whatever she wants it to.

One morning before school my mother attempted to braid my hair. She pulled and twisted and smoothed until she had created two very neat braids. Unfortunately, curly hair doesn’t do neat very well and the twisting and smoothing had made the braids so tight that I looked like Pippi Longstocking.

I was horrified and embarrassed but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I walked down the driveway knowing I was going to get laughed at by the kids on my bus.
I made a snap decision to unbraid my hair and pull it back into some kind of bun or ponytail or something, anything had to be better than looking like Pippi Longstocking. I decided I would tell her they had come out during recess. Her feelings wouldn’t be hurt and I would have to wear those braids to school.

The problem with my plan was that I had missed my bus. I couldn’t go up and tell her walking down the driveway had undone the braids, she would believe recess but she would never buy walking down the driveway had been so intense my hair had come free.

I decided to walk. I lived miles from school so I knew it was an awful plan but I didn’t have any other options. Another parent saw me and picked me up and brought me to school, after I told her my mom had left for work and to please not tell her I had missed the bus, and I managed to get away with the whole thing.

As an adult I am clear how much I just wanted to fit in. I wanted my hair in braids to look straight like the other kids and when I couldn’t get that to happen couldn’t be honest about how awful it made me feel to look different so I ended up trying to walk several miles to school. As an adult I know that being that late would have triggered a call to my parents, but as a 5th grader I was just desperate to avoid any kind of confrontation with anyone.


Home | Day 10 | Day 9 | Day 8 | Day 7 | Day 6 | Day 5 | Day 4 | Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1



ISBN 9781499805420
Publisher little bee books
Page Count 40
Format hardcover
Subformat picture book
Age range 4-8
Pub date April 3, 2018
Pub season Spring 2018
Rights World


Please support your local bookseller! Some of my local shops suffer from folks who peruse their beautiful selection, then order online from a less expensive venue. With this set-up, many beautifully curated collections will fold without your economic support. Consider visiting your neighborhood store–or IndieBound online. Thank you for your book love and support!


Here are some in my neck of the woods:

25 Palmer Sq E
Princeton, NJ 08542

Labyrinth Books (NJ)
122 Nassau St
Princeton, NJ 08542

Farley's Bookshop
44 S Main St
New Hope, PA 18938

Newtown Bookshop
2835 S Eagle Rd
Newtown, PA 18940

The Clinton Book Shop
12 E Main St
Clinton, NJ 08809

The Doylestown Bookshop
16 S Main St
Doylestown, PA 18901

Open Book Bookstore
7900 High School Rd
Elkins Park, PA 19027

[words] Bookstore
179 Maplewood Ave
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Moravian Book Shop
428 Main St
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Eleventh Step Books
31 Haddon Ave
Haddon Township, NJ 08108

Head House Books
619 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Joseph Fox Bookshop
1724 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Inkwood Books (NJ)
31 E Kings Highway
Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni's Room
345 S 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Hudson Booksellers EWR778/396
1180 McLester St Ste 3
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

Hudson Booksellers EWR916/940
1180 McLester St Ste 4
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Hudson Booksellers EWR396
Terminal C
Newark, NJ 07114

Let's Play Books!
244 Main Street
Emmaus, PA 18049

River Road Books
759 River Rd
Fair Haven, NJ 07704