In this wordless graphic picture book, a young boy feels alone with his worries. He isn't fitting in well at school. His grades are slipping. He's even lashing out at those who love him.
Talented Australian artist Mel Tregonning created Small Things in the final year of her life. In her emotionally rich illustrations, the boy's worries manifest as tiny beings that crowd around him constantly, overwhelming him and even gnawing away at his very self. The striking imagery is all the more powerful when, overcoming his isolation at last, the boy discovers that the tiny demons of worry surround everyone, even those who seem to have it all together.
This short but hard-hitting wordless graphic picture book gets to the heart of childhood anxiety and opens the way for dialogue about acceptance, vulnerability, and the universal experience of worry.--from the publisher
40 pages 978-1772780420 Ages 7-11 (Grades 3-6)
On the cusp of having everything slip from his grasp, a young boy has to find a way to rebuild his sense of self. An ordinary boy in an ordinary world. With no words, only illustrations, Small Things tells the story of a boy who feels alone with worries but who learns that help is always close by. An extraordinary story, told simply and with breath taking beauty.--from the publisher
See also Barbara Braxton's post on this important book: http://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/2016/09/14/small-things/
Excerpt from Barbara Braxton's post:
"With so many of our students, even very young ones, struggling with bullying and mental health issues that too often lead to the dire consequences of drugs and death, this is an important book for teachers to examine so we can be alert to the needs of the children in our care and consider whether the remark made in jest or the less-than-average grade might have a deeper impact than we think. It’s about the need to help our children build a core of resilience and self-esteem so they can cope when their expectations are not realised and to help parents understand that stepping in and solving every problem for a child in the short term in not necessarily the best solution in the long term. It’s about helping our children understand that there are not losers, only learners.
It’s about so much more than one reviewer can express in one review. Perhaps its most critical role is that it even though it encapsulates the feelings and thoughts of the boy in its evocative pictures so well that no words are needed, it becomes the conversation starter – more than that, it generates a loud call to action.
On a literary level I believe this will feature in the CBCA Book of the Year lists in 2017; on a social level it is so much more important than that.
There are Teachers Notes for both primary and secondary available and they come with a warning of how you use it because of the nerves that may be touched, a warning I would echo. Do not share this book as a stand-alone, time-filler. It’s format of many small frames does not readily lend itself to a class sharing, but rather a one-to-one exploration with a sensitive adult taking the helm. However the teachers notes offer some really positive ways of promoting positive mental health and strategies for those who are feeling fragile as well as helping others know how they might help a friend. Asking R U OK? is not just for one day a year.
A most remarkable and life-changing book. We need to nurture those who will sit with the lonely kid in the cafeteria but we must also know who the lonely kids are."--Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA
Note: Shaun Tan completed this graphic novel after author Mel Tregonning’s suicide: ‘Her absence made me try even harder’