(Isn't So Bad After All)
by Lori Orlinsky
Illustrated by Vanessa Alexandre
ages 4 to 8
Being small is the worst! No one ever picks me for their sports team and my feet hurt from standing on my tiptoes all the time. There can’t be anything good about being small…right?
This little girl doesn't want to go to school. Although she thinks she might not feel good enough to go, it turns out that she's upset about being so small. She recounts her troubles to her mother, who then flips everything upside down. And maybe being small isn't as negative as the little girl thinks.
The text is simple and flows in rhyme (some times smoother than others). The words are placed in such a way, which not only makes it clear what the girl fears, but also will bring smiles to young listeners faces. The humor is light but just right to make this a meaningful and enjoyable read. The situations are ones listeners will identify with, and the mother's side of things is also easy to agree with and understand. It's a cute back and forth with a message that's clear.
The illustrations are sweet and bring across the atmosphere nicely. Each situation is easy to understand (even for those who are simply flipping through the pages), and will probably draw a comment or two before the tale is done.
Kids who are on the small side will especially enjoy this book and are sure to see themselves in at least a few of the scenes.
This is your first children’s book, and it’s gained a wonderful amount of recognition so far…congratulations! What do you believe helped lead to this success?
Thank you! I believe the book has become successful because it was so personal to me, and I really put my heart and soul into it. I lived being short, and I am raising not one, but two little ladies. I was so determined to write a book that would make short children feel comfortable and proud in their own skin. Along the way, I realized it had universal messages of self acceptance, self confidence and bullying prevention that are applicable to all children. Being Small appeals to any child who has every felt different, and it also serves as a wonderful discussion starter about the power of our words.
The story was inspired by your own daughter. What were her thoughts and reactions when you published this book?
Hayley was my biggest cheerleader. Seeing what she deemed as disadvantages framed as advantages in the book made her look at herself in a whole new light. Now she completely rocks being the shortest, not only in her class, but in all of Kindergarten. She relishes in the special privileges that only she has because of her height.
What is your favorite part about writing? And what would you rather eat worms than do?
My favorite part about writing is knowing I have the power to change someone's life. I have received so many letters from parents whose children are receiving growth hormone shots. They've told me the book has made their children feel empowered and proud. To me, it is such a gratifying feeling. I'd rather eat worms than be in the heat. I love cold weather, which is why I live in Chicago. Bring on the -35 degree windchills, but nothing higher than 60 degrees.
Many authors were avid readers during their childhood. What were your favorite books while growing up?
I always looked forward to going to bed as a child because my Dad would read me Dr. Seuss books. I always asked for "just one more." As parents sometimes do, my Dad would try to skip pages to get me to go to bed faster. I always caught him, and made him start from the beginning! My favorite Dr. Seuss books were "The Foot Book" and "Green Eggs and Ham."
What book are you reading right now? As a teenager, I became interested in books about the Holocaust, since my late grandparents were survivors. I just finished "The Tattooist of Aushwitz" by Heather Morris.
When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
I love to spend time with my family - my husband, Brian and two daughters, Hayley and Ellie. We don't enjoy sitting still - we like to go to museums, zoos, aquariums and the movies. I also love to unwind with an episode of Friends, my all time favorite show.
What was your biggest wish as a child?
To be an author. I remember stapling construction paper together and making my own books. I thought about writing a book so many times over the years, but never had the inspiration to do so. Funny how life works out, because that "aha" moment came when my daughter told me she didn't want to go to school anymore because she was the shortest kid in class. Frustrated that no book on this topic existed, I realized I had a book inside of me, and this was the story I was meant to tell.
You can read the article about convincing her daughter it's okay to
be small here:
Scary Mommy: https://www.scarymommy.com/love-being-small/