In recent years, Layla has begun to write a number of bi and trilingual children's books that deal with a variety of issues—from coping with the loss of a grandmother, to jitters on the first day of Kindergarten. This page highlights her current (and upcoming!) stories for youthful or magic-loving audiences.
Nowruz in the Times of Corona
10-year-old Delarai and her family have just moved from California to Belgium, and the transition has been rough. Delarai has to learn new languages, adapt to a new culture, and deal with the freezing Belgian winter. On top of all of that, she has trouble fitting in at school—especially when her best friend Emilia starts ignoring her. As her family begins to welcome the spring, Delarai gets ready for a class presentation.
A Gift from Tonga
A Gift From Tonga is the story of Layla's mixed-race family’s adoption of a baby girl from Tonga. The bubbly tale follows what baby Annalisa loves in her first few months of life. From fashion shows with sister Delarai to trying yummy new foods with Maman, Annalisa is adventurous from the start! This book focuses on growing up in a household with a mixture of strong cultures, finding a balance between them, and embracing your ethnicity.
Saying Goodbye to Madar
Delarai loves visiting Madar every Saturday and enjoys eating the Iranian Shirin Polo she prepares, but one Saturday, her mother tells her they can’t go visit Madar anymore because she’s passed away. Her relationship with Madar is full of tenderness and knowing, and she feels a heartfelt connection to her Iranian heritage at Madar’s funeral in a place her mother calls the cemetery. She’s the only kid invited, and she feels a special kind of pride knowing that Madar will always be with her so long as Shirin Polo exists.
Attisa, the Brave Girl from Venus
Does one little girl really have the power to make a difference? Attisa loves her life and her friends on Planet Venus—especially her teacher, Ms. Wilka. But something is very wrong: Ms. Wilka is sick, and the only cure is a kiss from a magical Unicorn. Determined to bring a Unicorn back to Venus, Attisa sets off on a brave quest in a spaceship she builds herself. There’s just one problem. The Unicorns have all gone into hiding. What on Earth is going on?
My Recipe for Good Mental Health
After her mother shares the harrowing tale of her life, Delarai learns to pick her head up and adopt her mother’s strength. Delarai has trouble understanding many things in her life—her grandmother's mental illness, her great-grandfather’s disdain for her mother, and her best friend’s betrayal, to name a few—but Delarai's mother soothes her. Boldly, Delarai devises a recipe for coping with the persistent questions in her life with the wisdom her mother grants her—a recipe for good mental health.
Little Mischievous Kids
This story, titled Little Mischievous Kids, introduces Allisa, an immigrant girl from El Salvador bullied for her otherness by two vicious students. In turn, a fairy curses the bullies by turning them into donkeys during the day. Allisa, the victim, feels guilty for having wished ill upon her donkey-bullies in spite of their aggressions. Despite her shame, she comes to the aid of the donkeys and they eventually learn to be compassionate, like Allisa has always been.
Solal Goes to School
Follow along as Solal attends his first day of Kindergarten! So maybe he’s a little nervous, but his family helps him feel comfortable, as always! He’s super excited to meet his teacher, and he wonders what awaits him beyond the gates of the school. What he finds there is a total surprise.
Annalisa's First Day of First Grade
Annalisa has just moved from California to Belgium and she can’t wait to start the first grade at a new school! But on her first day, she realizes just how different she looks from the rest of the children. When they start picking on her for her dark hair, she relies on her inner strength (and her storytelling skills!) to propel her forward.