Big by Vashti Harrison is truly beautiful and special hardcover book. The book tells the story of a polite, achieving little girl who suffers bullying due to her size and learns to tell those around her that she is happy the way she is and doesn’t need to change. In the story she breaks a swing and gets asked by an adult if she didn’t realize she was too big. The story then follows how the word “big” can have both positive and negative connotations and the impact this has on the lead character.
This book is SO moving. It captures the impact of size-based bullying on this little girl in such an accessible way. It is a wonderful tool to use as a talking point around what would be better to say or ask in a similar situation. In South Africa, our bookshelves do not always reflect the population and it’s lovely to see a book with a black lead character. It would make a beautiful gift especially for any mom that grew up in a bigger body. Reading this book can help heal the little girl inside that mom and teach her daughter how to avoid experiencing the same pain.
The books is for children aged 4 – 11 years old. With younger children you can read the book as it is and comment on how the little girl felt whereas with older children you can ask questions about accessibility, social commentary and bullying: should there be a variety of swing sizes available? What could the teacher have said instead? If this happened to you, how would you respond?
It is a valuable book to read out in a junior school class and use as a discussion point especially if any weight-based bullying has occurred in a class.
Check out the book’s website: www.vashtiharrison.com
Follow the author on Instagram at @vashtiharrison
Reviewed by Nathalie Mat