I’M NOT SMALL is Full of Big Concepts

“What makes you big? What makes you small?” the blurb on the back of Nina Crews’ new book, I’M NOT SMALL, asks. In spare text and lively digital collage, a little boy, or maybe a BIG KID, sets off to explore this idea in his own backyard.

When mom tells the protagonist he is big enough to go into the yard alone, he immediately discovers that while he might be big, the sky, trees, and yard are much bigger. This fact makes him feel rather small. As he continues his observations, a host of little critters like his pet bunny and an ant make him feel big again. The boy’s adventure in independence ends when his mother gives him breakfast and a loving embrace, prompting him to realize that being big and being small both have their perks.

The simple narrative is layered with concepts of size, comparison, and perspective. Children will notice that the boy’s conception of himself as big or small changes when faced with various sizes in his environment. The art shows a zoomed out spread when the boy feels his smallest and closeups as the boy feels bigger.

If you have big-small children in your life, this will be a welcome addition to bookshelves and library hauls. Here are some things my kindergartners found particularly appealing:

  • laughing their heads off when I read “I am small.” on one page, followed immediately by “I am not small!” on the next
  • the ABSOLUTE DRAMA of the boy’s enormous boot and equally enormous boot shadow looming over the teeny tiny ant
  • talking about what BIG first graders they are about to be (even though this crew will always be big-small kindergartners in my heart)

And CONGRATULATIONS to Pam Vaughan for winning a copy of AGAIN, ESSIE? by Jenny Lacika and Teresa Martínez in last month’s giveaway. Thank you, Jenny, for your generous offer!

Sara Holly Ackerman

Sara Holly Ackerman is the author of several picture books including THE GABI THAT GIRMA WORE, co-authored with Fasika Adefris and illustrated by Netsanet Tesfay, NOT JUST THE DRIVER! illustrated by Robert Neubecker, and CHALLAH FOR SHABBAT TONIGHT illustrated by Alona Millgram. She is a school librarian who lives in Brooklyn, NY right down the street from the library and she never leaves home without her library card. Visit Sara at www.sarahollyackerman.com and on Instagram at @sarahollyackerman.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Sara! Wanting to be “big” is something all all young kids can relate to. I love how this book takes a look at big and small from varying perspectives. The illustrations are wonderful, too.

  2. This sounds like a great book for my grandson!

  3. Elizabeth Gallagher

    This sounds great! Can’t wait to get it for my class library. 😉

    • It’s pretty high up on my classroom wishlist as well! It will go nicely with YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant and THEY ALL SAW A CAT by Brendan Wenzel.

  4. This story sounds like such a creative, kid-friendly approach to “size” and all its many meanings, depending on perspective and viewpoint. Best of luck!

    • It really is! There’s enough to enjoy on the surface for the youngest listeners but the older ones can take it to a deeper level.

  5. This sounds just perfect for all children even middle grade could look at themselves, as big to elementary kids, but being around seniors they might feel small. Or a high school student could feel big next to k-9th graders, but what about their first day on a college campus. Just a few thoughts that went through my head even though I thought second grade for 39 years.

  6. I love how the definition of BIG is relative!

  7. I love the illustration of him on the ground looking at the bug. He looks huge. Life is all relative.

  8. This book looks delightful. I look forward to reading it to my little-big ones. Thanks for the post!

  9. Excellent execution! I feel like this all the time 🙂 Thanks for the peek inside.

  10. Ah! This book looks so lovely! Adding it to my “to read” right now! 🙂

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