All Are Welcome meets Be Kind in this poignant and accessible picture book about the power every bystander—no matter how small—has to extend kindness and stand up in the face of intolerance.
At his new school, quiet Rumi feels small and unwelcome, and a few kids bully him for being different and wearing bright shoes. He finds refuge beneath the old willow tree by the playground and builds his own world of hope and dreams of belonging.
One day, when Rumi is made a target again, one of his classmates bravely steps in to defend him. It’s in that moment of solidarity Rumi’s class finally realizes that under the shade of the willow tree, all are welcome, and they create a space they can all play in—together.
Aisha Saeed is the author of Written in the Stars, which was listed as a Best Book of 2015 by Bank Street Books, a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and named one of the Top Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read in 2016. She is also the author of the middle grade novel Amal Unbound, which has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews and is a Global Read Aloud for 2018. Her other picture books include Bilal Cooks Daal and The Together Tree. Aisha is a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books. She has been featured on MTV, HuffPost, NBC, and the BBC, and her writings have appeared in publications including the journal ALAN and the Orlando Sentinel.
LeUyen Pham has illustrated more than fifty books, including board books, picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels. Her work has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Bronze Medal in the Children’s Book category, and Best Books of the Year lists in publications such as KirkusReviews, TheHorn BookMagazine, and Comic Book Resources. She is also a New York Times bestseller for Grace for President, written by Kelly DiPucchio; Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully, written by Julianne Moore; and Princess in Black, written by Shannon and Dean Hale. Born in Vietnam, LeUyen came to the United States at the end of the Vietnam War when she was only two. She studied illustration at The Art Center College of Design, and for a short period of time worked at DreamWorks Animation as a layout artist before turning to illustration full time. She lives with her husband (who is also an artist) and two sons in Los Angeles. Visit her online at LeUyenPham.com.
Why We Love It
“This is such a heartwarming story that realistically depicts the challenges kids face at school without ever feeling preachy or too-on-the-nose. Aisha’s deft storytelling paired with LeUyen’s warm illustrations create a story that’s inspiring and unforgettable—especially in that ending scene!”
—Celia L., Executive Editor, on The Together Tree
Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 30, 2023)
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