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Children's Fiction Disasters

Room for More

by (author) Michelle Kadarusman

illustrated by Maggie Zeng

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Disasters, General, Values & Virtues
Recommended Age
5 to 8
Recommended Grade
k to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Two wombats, two wallabies, a koala, and a tiger snake humorously squeeze into one burrow—and reveal important truths about environmental disasters, climate change, and the importance of welcoming refugees.

When a fire sweeps through the Australian bush, wombats Dig and Scratch are glad to have a cool, damp burrow to keep them safe. But Dig notices that other animals are not so lucky. When Dig invites a wallaby mother and her joey to shelter with them, Scratch grumbles. When Dig beckons to a koala, Scratch complains. And when Dig welcomes in a tiger snake, Scratch is fit to be tied—but Dig is sure there’s always room for more. And when the rains come to douse the fire and bring a new threat of flooding, a crowd of creatures may turn out to be just what the wombats need.

Inspired by stories of animals sheltering in wombat burrows when her homeland of Australia experienced devastating fires, award-winning author Michelle Kadarusman gets young readers up close and personal with Australian wildlife. Illustrator Maggie Zeng brings the creatures to life with a generous dose of personality as they squeeze together in the burrow and work together aboveground. Extensive back matter includes information about wildfires, a glossary of animals, and age-appropriate context about environmental disasters and the work

About the authors

Michelle Kadarusman is a multi-award-winning author of middle-grade novels, including Music for Tigers, The Theory of Hummingbirds, and the Governor General’s Award finalist Girl of the Southern Sea. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Michelle has also lived in Indonesia and Canada; today she splits her time between Toronto, Canada, and Byron Bay, Australia. Room for More, Michelle’s first picture book, was inspired by Australian wildlife sheltering in wombat burrows during the devastating Australian bush fires of 2019–2020.


Michelle Kadarusman's profile page

Maggie Zeng is a children’s book illustrator, graphic designer, concept artist, and animator.

Born in Montreal, she attends Concordia University and previously received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Applied Arts Technologies at Dawson College. Maggie loves making story-driven illustrations that convey a feeling of adventure and wonder through fun characters and magical environments. Her first picture book is This is the Boat That Ben Built.


Maggie Zeng's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Room for More

2022 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection

FOLD Kids “2022 Summer Reading List” Selection

2022 Quill & Quire “Our Environment: A Helping Hand” Feature

2022 Picture Books, Eh “Environmental Refugees, by Michelle Kadarusman” Feature

Dr. Larry Recommends “Ten Picture Books, June 2022” Feature

“A sweet and simple cautionary tale, with a tip of the cap to the spirit of altruism.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Rating: 4… There’s a lot to think about in this picture book… readers will be able to make connections to real circumstances… This story could be part of a classroom study of Australia, climate change, drought, or cooperation.” —Youth Services Book Review

The messaging around welcoming refugees is subtle but also important… With adorable characters, important themes, and lovely illustrations, this is a cute picture book that children will enjoy.”—YA Books Central

Room for More can supplement a unit about inclusiveness and friendship and is a good read-aloud. Recommended”—CM Magazine

“This charming story connects young readers both with real-life creatures and events found in Australia and with the universal concept of neighborliness…an educational and uplifting story about how friendship and open mindedness can unite a community…and it is a unique addition to library collections for young readers.”— Children’s Literature-CLCD

“Amazing…this is a good book to share: to learn ‘in a fun way,’ to enjoy, and to be together.”—Friends Journal

Room for More is a nice picture book about kindness and helping others and it introduces young (and old) readers to some of the fascinating animals who live in Australia.”—

This adorable story of generosity and opening your doors for those in need is very timely. At a time when we are experiencing environmental displacement and wars, it's a good reminder that when we open our homes to those in need you never know how that generosity will manifest itself in the future.”—Storytime with Stephanie

In her dedication, Kadarusman thanks those “who open their hearts, homes, and borders to those in need,” which is a pretty powerful statement…The book is super cute – both the story and the illustrations – and I love how, in the end, Scratch feels good about helping others in needs.”—Book Time

“I know teachers will love to share this story with their students whether for STEM lessons…or for character education centered on empathy and goodwill…at its heart it is a sweet story that goes beyond teaching by captivating readers and transporting them to other worlds.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Michelle Kadarusman is one of my favorite authors-her words are so beautiful and the way she develops a story and the setting is great. I am so glad she has a picture book to share with the world.”—Mrs. Book Dragon

“This was a heartwarming story about taking care of others!...The illustrations really captured the emotions in each scene….This book would especially be great for older readers, and can lead into discussions about…the impacts of bushfires on animals & their habitats.”—Mrs. Makes Reading Fun (Goodreads)

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