Book excerpts

Layla Learns to be Brave (Layla Down Under)


Chapter 1

Layla loves to sing. She sings all the time. She even hums when she is getting ready for school.
Layla is standing in front of the mirror in her bedroom. She is humming a tune as she brushes her hair.
There must be a knot in her hair. She stops humming and frowns. Layla’s hair always gets full of knots. Some mornings, her dad says, ‘Layla, did a family of squirrels nest in your hair last night?’
Layla and the squirrels
Layla rolls her eyes when he says that. She pictures a family of squirrels trying to sleep on her head. It makes her giggle.
Layla is seven years old. She has shiny blonde hair, sparkly green eyes, and one missing tooth. She lives with her Mom and Dad in Brisbane, Australia. She has a brother named Tom and a baby sister named Hannah.
Today is Monday, so Layla is going to school. When Layla gets ready for school by herself, Dad gives her a quarter. Mom and Dad put a chart on the fridge. They stuck it to the side of the fridge with magnets. The chart helps her remember what she has to do.
The chart says:

Get ready for school Layla!
• Get dressed
• Comb your hair
• Brush your teeth
• Put on sunscreen
• Pack your school bag
• Make your bed

Layla puts the brush down. The knot is gone now. Getting dressed for school in Australia is easy. All the kids at school wear the same thing. It is called a uniform. Layla puts hers on. It is blue and white. Then, she pulls on white socks and black shoes with Velcro straps.
Mom walks into Layla’s bedroom. She smiles at Layla, and says, ‘Layla-Lou, Singing Club starts tomorrow. Your teacher, Ms. Bliss, is running it. Do you think you would like to join the club?’
Her name is really just Layla, not Layla-Lou. Sometimes Mom calls her Layla-Lou instead, but only when Layla is not in trouble. When Layla is in trouble, Mom calls her by her real name – Layla Rose.
‘When is Singing Club?’ asks Layla.
‘Every Tuesday, during recess. It will be in your classroom.’
‘I don’t think I will go. I don’t want to miss recess,’ says Layla.
But inside, she thinks, I don’t want to sing with the club. I won’t know all of the kids there. Maybe they won’t like me. Maybe I will be the only one who doesn’t know the songs.
‘OK,’ says Mom, ‘is Penny joining the club?’
Penny is Layla’s best friend. They have been best friends since the first week of school. They are in second grade now.
‘Yes, she is. So is Zoe,’ says Layla. Zoe is Layla’s friend from first grade. Zoe, Penny, and Layla always play together during recess.
‘Maybe you should join Singing Club too. Think about it before you decide. It’s up to you, Layla-Lou. ’
Mom leaves the room to find Tom. It’s time to help him get ready for kindergarten. In Australia, kindergarten is called Kindy or Pre-Prep.
Tom is only four years old. He doesn’t have to wear a uniform.
Layla thinks about what Mom said. She decides that she will ask Penny about Singing Club. If Penny is going, maybe Layla will go too.

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