Big by Vashti Harrison

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary:  At first the little girl with a big heart, big laugh, and big dreams loves being big.  “What a big girl you are!” adults say happily.  But as she gets older, being big is no longer considered a good thing.  “Don’t you think you’re too big for that?” a teacher scolds when she gets stuck in a swing, surrounded by classmates who moo and call out other hurtful comments.  She tries to blend in, trading her pink ballet costume for a gray one and becoming part of the scenery on stage.  She grows bigger and bigger on each page until she is crammed, curled up and crying, on the two-page spread.  Her tears turn into words: gray words like “too big” and “big cow” are mixed with pink words like “beautiful” and “creative.”  Finally, she gathers up the pink words for herself and hands the gray ones back to the people who said them.  Those people don’t always understand, but the girl is good, as she dances in her pink tutu off the final page.  Includes an author’s note sharing her own experiences that inspired this book.  60 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  An important book that addresses anti-fat bias and gives girls, especially Black girls, some tools for self-love and acceptance. The beautiful illustrations are a perfect complement to the text.

Cons:  I have mixed feelings about gatefold pages like the one in this book.  They are cool, but just don’t hold up well to repeated library use. The Knuffle Bunnies have been driving me crazy this year.

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