Ernest Clark is not exactly Lincoln School's most popular third grader. But it isn't his fault. Can he help it if he is small? Or if his mother gives him weird haircuts? No. There must be some way to survive third grade. Making a friend would help. And Ernest sees his chance when Jomo Mugwana from Kenya -- all the way from Africa! Jomo doesn't speak English, but he seems to like Ernest. The other kids aren't easy on Ernest and Jomo, though. So it's several months before they become friends. And by that time, something so wonderful has happened to Ernest that everyone wants to be his friend.