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Out Now: “The Together Tree” - Picture Book by Aisha Saeed
The picture book, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, is the story of Rumi, who feels like an outsider at his new school, and takes refuge under the old willow tree by the playground, which reminds him of the cypress trees he used to sit under in San Francisco.
Aisha Saeed’s new picture book “The Together Tree” released on May 30, 2023. The book explores themes of solidarity and the capacity for kindness and cruelty we all have. The picture book, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, is the story of Rumi, who feels like an outsider at his new school, and takes refuge under the old willow tree by the playground, which reminds him of the cypress trees he used to sit under in San Francisco.
His classmates Asher and Ella tease Rumi about the shoes he decorated with his friends back in California, but the bullying escalates when Asher injures Rumi with a stone. But Rumi’s classmate Han stands up for him, and so does the rest of the class, and Rumi is then presented with a choice of whether he should exclude Asher in the same way he was excluded, or end the cycle.
The book’s description reads:
“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 an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author. Her middle grade novel “Amal Unbound” received multiple starred reviews. “Amal Unbound” was on Amazon’s and NPR’s Best Books of 2018. Saeed is also the founder of the nonprofit #WeNeedDiverseBooks, which advocates for diversity in publishing.
LeUyen Pham has illustrated more than fifty books, including picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels. Her work has been recognized in Best Books of the Year lists in publications such as Kirkus Reviews, Comic Book Resources, and The Horn Book Magazine.
Buy “The Together Tree” here.