“Have you seen the new kid?” he heard a boy whisper behind him.
Some of the kids in that row giggled. He could feel them looking at him. He knew what they were laughing about. Amir hated the way people laughed at his bald head.
The truth was, his mom didn’t like to pay for haircuts. She decided it would be a good idea to cut his hair herself. But she cut it short, and shorter, and shorter… soon she had cut it all off!
Amir didn’t want to hurt his mom’s feelings, so he didn’t tell her how much he hated the haircuts. He wished she would just let his hair grow! Even long hair like a girl would be better than no hair at all.
Ignoring the whispers and giggles behind him, Amir started working on his math assignment. It was something he had done before at his old school, so it was pretty easy.
When he finished, he looked around. Feeling surprised, he saw nobody else was done. In fact, nobody was even close! He heard the boy behind him sigh with frustration.
“Would you like help?” Amir asked him, turning around.
He had figured out at his last school that the best way to get past all of the teasing was to be nice. Being mean back would just make everyone feel bad.
Behind him, the boy hesitated, then looked at Amir’s finished sheet.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “I don’t get it at all.”
Amir turned around and explained first one problem, then another. Soon there were several kids all following along. The teacher smiled at the group crowded around Amir as he explained the lesson she had just taught. She knew the kids often learned well from each other, and she was happy Amir was fitting in so quickly.
Amir was glad to fit in, too. Most people wanted to make fun of people who were different, but most people could also get past it, he found. He was excited to make all these new friends, even if he looked a little different.