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“A well-meaning lesson in acceptance and identity overshadowed by flattening and problematic cultural depictions.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Bluest Scarf

Written by Mohamed Danawi
Illustrated by Ruaida Mannaa
Published by Running Press Book Publishers

Layla lives in a beautiful blue world. One day, her mother gives her a gift—a blue scarf that Layla lovingly wears around her neck. But when a gust of wind carries the scarf away, Layla sets out to find it, traveling by boat to various worlds of different colors. But her scarf is nowhere to be found. Eventually, Layla lands at the shores of a Rainbow world and discovers the secret of her lost scarf while also finding a welcoming new home.

Note from I’m Your Neighbor Books: The refugee character in this book is rejected by several allegorical “worlds of different colors.” I’m Your Neighbor Books staff found the depictions of those single-color fictional worlds to contain real-world dated and/or offensive racial and cultural stereotypes.

We also reject the premise that a multicultural nation or the “rainbow world” is more welcoming than the single-color world. This seems to elevate the United States and/or Canada (which are not depicted in the single-color world stereotypes). With US refugee resettlement at a 40-year low and with aslyee policies in place that are in violation of international immigration law, it is particularly hard to see the (albeit fictional) United States held up as the most welcoming nation.

As of 2023, the top refugee resettlement nations are Türkiye, Colombia, Germany, Pakistan, and Uganda—all nations from parts of the world that are depicted in the book as rejecting this refugee girl.

We do not mean to negate whatever true experiences of welcoming or rejection the creators or others have felt from particular nations or regions. But, with the story presented as an allegory, we are responding to what the allegory evokes in us as readers.


Primary ISBN: 9780762478897
Publication Date: October 2022
Available As: Hardcover, eBook
Picture Book, Age 04 or older

Community Represented:

Themes: ,

Setting: Unspecified

Character's Place in the Immigration Journey: Immigrant

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