Review: Big by Vashti Harrison Explores Self-Love

Posted December 13, 2023 by Richetta in Book Reviews, Children's Books / 0 Comments

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Review: Big by Vashti Harrison Explores Self-LoveBig by Vashti Harrison
on May 2, 2023
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural, Juvenile Fiction / Girls & Women, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Emotions & Feelings, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Prejudice & Racism, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 60
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Bookshop

New York Times bestseller! A National Book Award finalist! This deeply moving story shares valuable lessons about fitting in, standing out, and the beauty of joyful acceptance, from a New York Times bestselling and award-winning creator.

The first picture book written and illustrated by award-winning creator Vashti Harrison traces a child’s journey to self-love and shows the power of words to both hurt and heal. With spare text and exquisite illustrations, this emotional exploration of being big in a world that prizes small is a tender portrayal of how you can stand out and feel invisible at the same time.

This emotional, beautifully illustrated book about anti-fat bias is a must-read for children and adults. Big by Vashti Harrison is a powerful read-aloud where both the words and images convey the emotions of a little girl who is told being big is bad. 

It explores that moment between when being a big girl is a good thing. That time period when you are learning to walk and do things on your own as a toddler. To the time when there begin to be subtle shifts and the term “big girl” is no longer a compliment. 

Definitely read the author’s note at the end. It explains her connection to the story and her reasoning behind choosing the color pink as the main palette for the illustrations. It’s a color that the little girl is told doesn’t work for her. She is instead given a grey/black outfit to wear in her recital. 

One of the key moments for adults to explore is when the little girl gets stuck in the swing. Harrison talks about adultification bias in her author’s note. Big does not equal grown. The little girl is still a child and even though she got stuck that does not imply that she should “know better.”

The moment when the little girl regains her confidence and gives back the words that were unkindly spoken to her is very powerful. There is space for a great discussion about how each person reacts to her giving back those words. 

Also, I loved the surprise foldout in the book! I’m a huge fan of Vashti Harrison’s artwork. Big by Vashti Harrison is a classic and an important read-aloud. Highly recommend!

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