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The Small Things

Written by Lisa Thompson

Illustrated by Hannah Coulson

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The Small Things Review

Dyslexia Friendly Books for Interest age 7+ Dyslexia Friendly Books for Interest age 9+ Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 7+ readers Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE) School Stories

A celebration of the little things in life

Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8

Anna has friends at school, a kind teacher, she’s not being bullied, yet still she feels anxious, subdued, and terribly conscious that her friends’ lives are much busier than hers, a round of after school lessons, activities and clubs. The arrival in her class of new girl Ellie changes everything however. Ellie is ill and can’t come to school, instead she communicates via a special robot, quickly named Ellie-bot by the class. As the two girls become friends, Anna finds herself inventing the kind of home life her friends have, scared that her normal life is too small-scale to impress Ellie. The truth emerges, of course, but Ellie is wise enough to understand that it’s the small things in life that are the best. Quiet and gentle as it is, nonetheless this story packs a real punch and is delivered with the warmth, compassion and understanding that mark out Thompson’s writing. Published by dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, it is accessible to all readers.

Andrea Reece

Other Info

Lisa Thompson was inspired to write the story after a school visit where she was introduced to a robot being controlled by a child who wasn’t able to attend in person. No Isolation enables long-term sick children to attend school and social activities through the use of telepresence robots which act as the child’s eyes, ears and voice in the classroom. 

A note from the author, Lisa Thompson; “Working with Barrington Stoke on The Small Things has been an absolute joy. They are so passionate about all readers accessing high quality, gripping books and I have seen first-hand what a difference their books make to children, parents and teachers. I think that this year, more than ever, many of us have begun to appreciate the small things in our lives. This is what is at the heart of my story – a reminder to take a moment to appreciate that sometimes the little things are enough.” 

A note from No Isolation CEO Karen Dolva;  “Lisa has taken our creation and given it life in a world where children learn the importance of empathy and connection. It is beautifully written and compelling. We’re delighted that she found inspiration for this story from our AV1s and understood their purpose so brilliantly. Just as we hope AV1 continues to reduce child loneliness, we hope Lisa’s book can bring comfort to its readers and help children feel less alone, no matter whether they’re reading from a busy classroom or at home.” 

A note from the editor Ailsa Bathgate;  “Everything that Lisa writes rings with authenticity and empathy. The children in her stories are instantly recognisable and relatable, and her sensitive depiction of their struggles and worries allows readers to understand more about themselves and others. Her books are works to treasure and return to, showing an author who is a master of her craft. With The Small Things she has delivered another gentle but powerful story with an emotional impact that far outweighs its size.”

The Small Things Synopsis

Anna's anxious when she's picked to befriend the new girl in her class. For a start, Ellie is ill and can't come to school herself. So Anna has to communicate with her through a new kind of robot. But Anna is also worried that her life's too small and boring to be of interest to her new friend. Compared to the other girls, she doesn't have anything exciting to talk about and so when Ellie asks her a question, a little white lie pops out. Then another and another. When Ellie finds out the truth, can their friendship survive ...?

Inspired by a true story, a groundbreaking robot helps friendship blossom in this poignant and uplifting novella from bestseller Lisa Thompson.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781781129647
Publication date: 03/06/2021
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781781129647
Publication date: 3rd June 2021
Author: Lisa Thompson
Illustrator: Hannah Coulson
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 104 pages
Suitable for: 7+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Personal Social Health Economic , Body / Health, School Stories
Collections: 85 Brilliant Books about Friendships,
Other Categories: Dyslexia Friendly Books for Interest age 7+, Dyslexia Friendly Books for Interest age 9+

About Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson is a children’s novelist and the author of the best-selling The Goldfish Boy and The Light Jar. The Goldfish Boy was a Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, the Branford Boase Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. She lives in Suffolk with her family  

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