One Green Apple
By Eve Bunting
Illustrated By Ted Lewin
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Range: 5+

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“…a very gentle story about being new and different, with the author delivering her message in her classically subtle style.”  —Kirkus Reviews

Farah feels alone, even when surrounded by her classmates. She listens and nods but doesn’t speak. It’s hard being the new kid in school, especially when you’re from another country and don’t know the language. Then, on a field trip to an apple orchard, Farah discovers there are lots of things that sound the same as they did at home, from dogs crunching their food to the ripple of friendly laughter. As she helps the class make apple cider, Farah connects with the other students and begins to feel that she belongs.

Ted Lewin’s gorgeous sun-drenched paintings and Eve Bunting’s sensitive text immediately put the reader into another child’s shoes in this timely story of a young Muslim immigrant.

Reviews & Accolades
“Farah begins her story on her second day in her new school in her new country. Many things are strange to her, including the clothes and the language. Her class is going on a field trip to an apple orchard, where they each pick an apple to be made into cider. Symbolically, Farah drops her small green one into the machine, to be incorporated with all the other red ones. She begins to make friends. She has also learned a new word, “App-ell.” She has hope that “There will be more.” Her simple story helps us understand the feelings of one of the many immigrant children striving to make their way in our American world. Lewin’s naturalistic watercolors take advantage of the large double pages to depict the apple picking adventure, including the efforts of some children toward friendship. His visual narrative is successful in pulling us along, while presenting genuine personalities, particularly Farah herself. In her final full page portrait, her smile seems to predict a positive future.”
Children’s Literature

As a Muslim girl rides in a hay wagon heading to an apple orchard on a class trip, the dupatta on her head setting her apart, she observes that while some of the children seem friendly, others are not. Her father has explained, “-we are not always liked here. Our home country (never named in the story) and our new one have had difficulties.” Later, when she puts a green apple into the cider press instead of a ripe red one as her classmates have done, they protest. But the cider from all their apples mixed together is delicious-a metaphor for the benefits of intermingling people who are different. Lewin’s watercolors radiate sunlight and capture the gamut of emotions that Farah experiences on this challenging second day in her new school in the U.S. They show her downcast silence and sense of isolation because she can’t speak the language, her shy smile when a classmate befriends her, and, finally, her triumphant smile as she speaks one of her first English words, “App-ell.” This story, along with Bernard Wolf’s Coming to America: A Muslim Family’s Story (Lee & Low, 2003), can heighten youngsters’ awareness of what it must be like to feel different and alone and that each person has something unique to contribute to the good of all.
School Library Journal

“Lewin’s sunlit watercolors, full of space and shadow, are a lovely match for Bunting’s simple but never simplistic story. A girl named Farah in her second day at school visits an orchard with her class. She has no “outside-myself” words yet. This place where girls and boys can sit together, and where she is the only one with a headcovering, seems very strange to her. But the dogs in the orchard crunching the fallen apples sound like her dog in her home country. Each child is to pick one apple to bring to the cider press. Farah chooses one that is small and green and fits in her hand, a bit different from the others, just as she is. When they make room for her, she helps push the large handle to make the cider and then takes a drink. Belches, sneezes and laughter sweet and sour sound familiar to her. “App-ell,” she finally says aloud. While making its point, this is a very gentle story about being new and different, with the author delivering her message in her classically subtle style.
Kirkus Reviews

Groups Represented

Cross-Group Friendship
Cultural Differences
Cultural Identity
Learning English
Migrant Life

United States

Engagement Projects & Resources
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