Room for Everyone

by Naaz Khan (Author) Mercè López (Illustrator)

Room for Everyone
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A young boy on a crowded bus discovers that, after some wiggles and giggles, there's room for everyone in this lighthearted rhyming picture book set in Zanzibar.

The dala dala rumbles and roars as Musa and Dada drive off to the shore--but the bus stops for multiple detours: "Do you need a ride? It's hotter than peppers out there in the sun! Come in, there's room for everyone!"

One stop becomes two stops which soon becomes ten, and Musa wonders when it will end: "How can any more people get in? We're already smushed like sardines in a tin!" But there's always room for one more, if you make the room, which is the heartwarming take-away from this bouncy, joyous tale in rhyme.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

East Africa is presented richly and distinctly in López's dynamic artwork, but the overall experience of riding and building community on the daladala is not only accessible, but easily familiar to much of the world in this charming story. Khan and López take readers on a uniquely East African journey toward a global sense of compassion and inclusion.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

This irrepressible story in verse by newcomer Khan is simultaneously a counting book and a study in generosity of spirit. Siblings Musa and Dada are taking a daladala to the "blue crystal waters of Zanzibar" when the driver spots an old man and his bicycle. "It's hotter than peppers out there in the sun," the driver calls. "Come in, there's room for everyone!" More invitations follow: a herder and two goats, three fruit vendors, a farmer with four full milk pails. Musa protests: "We don't have the space!" But the passengers willingly relinquish room (through "a shuffle, a squirm, and a squeeze") to accommodate the newcomers. By the time 10 divers want to board the bursting vehicle, Musa has entered into the spirit of things: "Come join the fun! We'll make enough room for everyone!" López (I Am Smoke) brings bright color, fine draftsmanship, and communal warmth to jovially packed spreads. Even the characters' robes and the attractive chaos of the things they carry are captured with care in this affirming portrait set in East Africa. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Naaz Khan
Naaz Khan is a writer and educator with a diploma in refugee studies from the American University in Cairo, and a master of arts in international education from Columbia University. She draws inspiration from her experiences living in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kenya, and India, where she was born. She currently lives in Washington, DC, where she makes room for hiking, biking, working for An Open Book Foundation, interfaith gatherings, and playing her ukulele.

Mercè López has a degree in illustration at Llotja Art School in Barcelona. She has illustrated many projects for different markets from design, editorial, cinema, and theatre to publishing with Spanish and international book publishers. She recently moved to Mallorca, Spain, for a new adventure.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Atheneum Books
Publication date
November 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV041000 - Juvenile Fiction | Transportation | General
JUV030010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | Africa
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
Brothers and sisters
Stories in rhyme
ALSC Notable Children's Book
Selection 2022

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