Ideas for using
in the classroom

Melissa Parkington has the most beautiful hair anyone has ever seen. But one day she decides she’d like people to notice her for something she does, not something that just grows out of her head. She tries her hand at basketball and art but finally decides she wants to be noticed for her kindness.

Everybody’s beautiful in some way, especially if you look with your heart and not just your eyes. Discuss ways your students and people they know are beautiful on the inside. Let them give as many examples as they can think of and inspire them to work on their own inner beauty.

Locks of Love is an organization that makes wigs for kids whose own hair won’t grow. The hair is donated, mostly by young people. Donated hair needs to be at least ten inches long. If hair grows about 1/2 inch per month, how long would it take to grow ten inches? Have any of your students donated hair to Locks of Love? Pat Brisson doesn’t mention Locks of Love by name in the book, but that’s the organization she was thinking about. What name did the illustrator give to the organization that Melissa donates her hair to?

Melissa makes a list of things she’d like to become really good at so people will notice that instead of her hair. Have your students list Ten Things I’d Like to Get Better At. Then choose three of those things, and make lists of Five Things I Can Do to Get Better at ------. Breaking goals down to smaller steps makes them more manageable and achievable.

Assign students the task of doing five kind acts each day for a week and keeping a list of them. At the end of the week, have each student choose one act of kindness to write about and share with the class. Be sure to have them include how they felt about doing it.

Melissa father calls her My Melissa of the Beautiful, Beautiful Hair. The author’s father called her Petunia. Do your students’ parents have pet names for them? Ask those who are willing to share what those names are.

Suzanne Bloom designed her own stamps for the package Melissa’s Hair is mailed in. How much did the postage cost? Have your students design their own postage stamps.

With Share Your Hair, Melissa is helping someone she will probably never meet. Why do your students think she would do that? Have they ever helped people they’ve never met? Consider doing something as a class to help people you’ll never meet – a food collection for a local food pantry, a fundraiser for disaster victims, a book drive for a homeless shelter.

Melissa has the number 22 on her basketball shirt. Do your students have favorite or significant numbers they would choose for a shirt? Have them write about that.

Suzanne Bloom gave Melissa a polar bear that looks very much like the polar bear in her book A Splendid Friend, Indeed. Share this splendid book with your class. Talk about the characters’ expressions – what do their expressions tell us about their personalities? Get volunteers to act out the story for the class.

At the end of the book Melissa and her father are playing cat’s cradle. Learn how to play this string game at http://www.ifyou love And you can even see videos of the games here: Provide string so everyone can learn and practice, too.

Melissa shares her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Lydia Spincraft. (Oatmeal Raisin are the author’s favorite cookies.) Take a survey of your students to find out their favorite cookies and then let each student figure out a way to present that information as a graph or chart or other kind of illustration.

MELISSA PARKINGTON’S BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL HAIR is published by Boyds Mills Press. The ISBN- 10 is 1-59078-409-x.

Pat Brisson does frequent author visits to schools and conferences. If you would like to arrange a visit, write to her at 94 Bullman St., Phillipsburg, NJ 08865. Or phone : 908-454-9455. Or e-mail:

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