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Four kids meet at an airport for one unforgettable night in this middle-grade novel by four bestselling and award-winning authors—Aisha Saeed, Huda Al-Marashi, Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, and S. K. Ali.
When a thunderstorm grounds all flights following a huge Muslim convention, four unlikely kids are thrown together. Feek is stuck babysitting his younger sister, but he’d rather be writing a poem that’s good enough for his dad, a famous poet and rapper. Hanna is intent on finding a lost cat in the airport—and also on avoiding a conversation with her dad about him possibly remarrying. Sami is struggling with his anxiety and worried that he’ll miss the karate tournament that he’s trained so hard for. And Nora has to deal with the pressure of being the daughter of a prominent congresswoman, when all she really wants to do is make fun NokNok videos. These kids don’t seem to have much in common—yet.
Told in alternating points of view, Grounded tells the story of one unexpected night that will change these kids forever.
About the Author
Aisha Saeed is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of books for children. Her middle-grade novel Amal Unbound received multiple starred reviews and was a Global Read Aloud for 2018. Her picture book, Bilal Cooks Daal, received an APALA honor, and she was the co-editor of the critically acclaimed Once Upon an Eid. Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She lives in Atlanta with her family.
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, M.S.Ed, is a Philadelphia-based educator and children’s book author. A curriculum writer and former English teacher, she has educated children and teens in traditional and alternative learning settings for 15 years. As an inaugural AMAL fellow with the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), she developed foundational curricular frameworks for youth and adult anti-racist programming. Her picture books and short stories, which feature young Black and Muslim protagonists, have been recognized as the best in children’s literature by TIME magazine, Read Across America, and NPR. These works include Mommy’s Khimar, Once Upon an Eid (anthology contributor), Grounded (coauthor), Your Name Is a Song, Abdul’s Story, and Hold Them Close.
“I loved this thrilling airport adventure, complete with friendship, thunderstorms, chocolate, and a missing celebrity cat. I couldn’t put it down! Kids will love the comfort the book offers, as well as the adventure.”
— Victoria Jamieson, author of Roller Girl, a Newbery Honor book
"I love this book! It's the exact type of story I dreamed about finding as a kid—fun and funny with diverse Muslim representation. So charming and full of heart!"
— Jasmine Warga, New York Times bestselling author of A Rover’s Story
“Saeed, Al-Marashi, Thompkins-Bigelow, and Ali write four relatable, well-developed characters from different backgrounds who represent the diversity of Muslim communities, seamlessly connecting their individual and collective stories into a single whole. A positive, engaging story centering Muslim kids.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“In alternating points of view, the four authors—who collaborated on Once upon an Eid (2020)—have crafted a book that, while it brims with unapologetic Muslim rep, is not about religion but friendship and adventure. Hand to readers seeking a quick escape.”
"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."
— Publishers Weekly
This will appeal to a wide audience, with important topics addressed smartly, including the positives and negatives of social media, and fitting in with peers while staying connected to one’s family.
— School Library Journal
"This is more than a cute kitty caper with humorous airport antics: it’s a thought-provoking adventure about growing up and the need for individuality, independence, and autonomy."
— The Horn Book Magazine