Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

A girl, a bat, and a story about courage and compassion



Life delivered a very sweet gift when my children’s book, illustrated by wonderful Maine artist Leona Hosack, came into the world this week, published by Baha’i Publishing.

Jamila finalsketch1

Illustration: Leona Hosack

Jamila Does Not Want A Bat in her House is the story of a little girl frightened by the bat swooping around inside her house, especially when her parents can’t get it outside.

It flies out of their reach, over their heads, and disappears where they can’t see it. Jamila does not like this game of hide-and-seek at ALL.


Illustration: Leona Hosack

When she finally sees the bat up close, she discovers that it’s very small, and that it might be as scared as she is.

That’s when she finds the compassion, and the courage, to help the bat, her family, and herself. Along the way, she learns about perseverance, cooperation, and the real power of prayer to help us meet the challenges that can arrive in our lives like unwelcome visitors.

Bats have visited my family’s Victorian house regularly through the years. Over time, as our family solved the challenge of freeing them, we learned a lot, as Jamila does, about the value of empathy, and of working together for the benefit of all (including the bat).

Find more about Jamila Does Not Want A Bat in her House here:



2 thoughts on “A girl, a bat, and a story about courage and compassion

  1. Many congratulations, Phyllis. Somebody cue the flowers and fireworks! What a great way to usher in the new Baha’i year.

    Children’s books are one of the toughest and most daunting literary forms. Lots of us wondered what you’d do in the wake of your tough-act-to-follow “Munich Girl” novel — and you played your cards pretty close to the vest. Well done! Can’t wait to see this one.

  2. Ditto above! What a lovely tale and lively illustrations, I do hope this’ll be a popular addition to the array of wonderful children’s picture books on offer these days.

    Like you we’ve had bats in one of our houses, a farmhouse in rural Wales. I rescued one which was careering round our bedroom, and another two (youngsters, possibly) which had fallen into a rainwater barrel. These last two I fished out of the water and left to dry off on a sunny windowsill; they flew off in time, though we never saw them go. Another one I saw clinging onto a cloister wall in an ancient French monastery, but as its wing was broken I suspect it didn’t survive long.

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