cover image Grounded


Aisha Saeed, Huda Al-Marashi, Jamilah Thompkins Bigelow, and S.K. Ali. Amulet, $18.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4197-6175-1

In this multi-POV collaboration, four kids leaving the Muslims of North America conference are stranded with their families at Zora Neale Hurston Airport after a thunderstorm grounds their flights. When 12-year-old aspiring lyricist Feek Stiles, from Philly, loses track of four-year-old sister Ruqi, he’s thrown into the company of perpetually anxious Sami Iqbal, from Orlando, who’s afraid of missing his upcoming karate competition; 13-year-old Nora Najjar, a social media enthusiast struggling to share the attention of her busy Michigan “Congressmom”; and 11-year-old animal lover Hanna Chen, from Doha, who’s devoted herself to finding Snickerdoodle, a cat lost in the airport. Once Ruqi is found, Hanna presses the others into joining her cause, precipitating a revealing adventure that pushes each character—all of them navigating personal challenges—to confront whatever it is they’re facing, now that there’s nowhere to go. Humorous dialogue balances intensely emotional moments throughout alternating chapters by Saeed, Al-Marashi, Thompkins Bigelow, and Ali. Spirited characters with distinctly wrought backgrounds prove both idealistic and realistic while emphasizing the importance of community and the idea that there is more than one way to honor Muslim identity. Ages 8–12. Authors’ agents: (for Saeed) Faye Bender, Book Group; (for Ali) Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties; (for Thompkins Bigelow) Essie White, Storm Literary. (May)