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Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, written by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson. G.P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin. 2014. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"But through all the mean words
and all the cold stares,
no one even noticed that Sally
was there.
And they certainly didn't know,
or at least didn't mention,
that Sally was paying super
extra special attention.
She'd seen how a whisper
could make someone cower ... "

She may be the smallest girl. She may even be the quietest. She surely is the most observant of all that is going on around her. Whether she is on the school playground, in the hallways at school, or in the bigger world, Sally takes note of every situation, little or big. With heavy heart she sees that many of the events are hurtful. When she can take it no longer, Sally McCabe takes action.

“I’m tired of seeing this terrible stuff.
Stop hurting each other!  This is enough!”

It turns out that she is not the only one. Her willingness to step up and say something is all the incentive others need to step forward themselves and join ranks with Sally. Together, they can be change agents for what happens in their world.

"People remembered and would quite often mention
that Sally has been paying super extra special attention.
And how the world could transform and change could be made
by the smallest girl in the smallest grade."

All is takes is ONE!

To say I am a huge fan of Christian Robinson's artwork is an understatement. Using colored pencils, he creates diversity in the children who people his action-filled spreads. Children who are as observant as Sally is will note the playground scuffles, the whispered teasing, the joy that comes when the hurting stops.

This book, with its message of empathy and understanding, and its charming and telling artwork, is sure to spark needed conversation in all school classrooms.

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