Small Things

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Small Things

Illustrated by Mel Tregonning
Graphic Picture Book for Children Ages 8-12
ISBN: 978-1-77278-141-0 HC | 978-1-77278-132-8 PB
List Price: $24.95 CAD / $19.95 USD HC | $16.95 CAD / $14.95 USD PB
HC with dust jacket & reinforced trade binding
Trim Size: 20.96 x 27.94 cm / 8.25 x 11 in
Pages: 40

Publication Date: March 1, 2018
Paperback Publication Date: February 9, 2021

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

A stunning graphic picture book about childhood anxiety from an extraordinarily talented illustrator. On the cusp of having everything slip from his grasp, a young boy has to find a way to rebuild his sense of self.

In this short, wordless graphic picture book, a young boy feels alone with his anxiety. He isn’t fitting in well at school. His grades are slipping. He’s even lashing out at those who love him.

Talented Australian artist Mel Tregonning created Small Things in the final year of her life. In her emotionally rich illustrations, the boy’s worries manifest as tiny beings that crowd around him constantly, overwhelming him and even gnawing away at his very self. The striking imagery is all the more powerful when, overcoming his isolation at last, the boy discovers that the tiny demons of worry surround everyone, even those who seem to have it all together.

This short but hard-hitting wordless graphic picture book gets to the heart of childhood anxiety and opens the way for dialogue about acceptance, vulnerability, and the universal experience of worry.

Awards and Honours:
2018 Foreword INDIES: Graphic Novels & Comics Bronze Winner
2019 USBBY Outstanding International Books List selection
2019 Pop Culture Classroom Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards: Best in Children’s Graphic Literature shortlist
2018 The Horn Book, “August 2018 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: Intermediate” selection
2018 The Children’s Book Review “The Best Kids Chapter Books and Novels of 2018” selection
2018 The Children’s Book Review “Best New Books for Tweens & PreTeens | March 2018” selection
2018 NCTE “Spring Into New Book Recommendations” selection
2023 School Library Journal15 Visual Books to Help Students Grapple with Big Feelings” Selection
2018 School Library Journal blogger Elizabeth Bird’s “2018 Books with a Message” selection
2018 School Library Journal blogger Elizabeth Bird’s “2018 Wordless Picture Books” selection

Awards and Honours for the Australian Edition:
2017 Gold Ledger Award winner
2017 Australian Book Design Awards – Best Designed Children’s Illustrated Book shortlist
2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year, Crichton Award shortlist
2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award longlist

★ “Much like the boy’s ever-transforming anxieties, panels shift from slender, compressed squares to sweeping double-page spreads. The otherworldly glow of the black-and-white palette, too, elegantly underscores the boy’s ongoing battle against darkness. More than a moving portrayal of one boy’s struggle, this is also a magnifying lens through which to identify and discuss mental illness with readers of all ages. Don’t let its title or page count fool you, Small Things’ effects are monumental.”—Booklist ★ Starred Review

★ “[An] incredibly moving tale…This wordless, picture book–size graphic novel is rendered in beautiful gradients of pencil….[A] sympathetic examination of anxiety that never assigns blame…VERDICT With direction from educators, guidance counselors, or parents, this poignant title will resonate with those dealing with mental illness. A superb example of bibliotherapy.”—School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

★ “A boy struggles to fit in at a new school in this wordless story with a big message about childhood anxiety and the power of kindness and acceptance….[The illustrations] depict the insidious nature of worry…”—Foreword Reviews ★ Starred Review

“In this wordless story told through paneled graphite art that makes achingly attuned use of chiaroscuro, a boy is having a hard time—not the kind many picture-book kids have en route to finding a problem’s clear-cut solution, but an enduringly hard time….One hopes this book will reach children who relate to the boy’s plight and anyone who, like the boy’s sister, suspects that a loved one is in pain and needs help.”—The Horn Book Magazine

Small Things, a wordless graphic novel by Mel Tregonning…is an extra­ordinary example: an illustrated book that communicates difficult, painful ideas solely via intricate monochrome graphite drawings….[I]t offers a ­significant potential gift: understanding, and the possibility of recovery…The image of a small, vulnerable body breaking down by degrees, while deeply discomfiting, honours the weight of what it conveys; and the book as a whole celebrates the helpfulness of uncon­ditional love, while successfully avoiding a superficial, unduly swift resolution.”—The Times Literary Supplement, “Buzz-saw of the imagination”

“The late Australian artist Tregonning’s wordless graphic tale, completed posthumously with help from Shaun Tan, captures the way anxiety can ravage children’s lives….Tregonning creates a visual language for the pain of depression and anxiety, and her story may provide a measure of hope to those who might otherwise have given up in despair.”—Publishers Weekly

“[R]efreshing visibility and validity of childhood pressures accompanied by the equally important realization that no one is alone in their experience…”—Kirkus Reviews

“Every once in a while, we are privileged with the gift of holding in our hands truly unique and emotionally riveting books which have the capacity to leave permanent footprints etched in the heart. Mel Tregonning’s Small Things is, undeniably, one of those books….[A] wordless masterpiece that…effortlessly taps into the rawness of the human experience….This beautifully depicted textless narrative which effectively honours not only the life of Tregonning, herself, but also the lives of all those who have been impacted by struggles with mental health, is a must-have, one-of-a-kind addition to every school library and home collection. Highly Recommended.—CM Magazine

“The powerful imagery of anxiety and worry as beings is told entirely through wordless illustrations…. Highly recommended for Grades 2-6 and/or as a parent/teacher resource for helping children with anxiety.”—ASLC Litpicks

“A child feels he is crumbling from anxiety in this affecting graphic novel about depression and loneliness. Spreads with dozens or only one panel show, without words, the many ways that depression can affect a child’s life.”—Youth Services Book Review

“The book is wordless, but the black and white panel illustrations tell a thousand words about the plight of anxiety and ultimately the healing power of acceptance and connection.”—Vancouver Family Magazine

“This is an extremely powerful, wordless graphic novel…this would make a powerful addition to an older elementary and even middle school classroom and would be a great conversation starter for a class, book discussion or even one-on-one about anxiety, expectations, and self care.”—Literacious

Small Things…is all at once superbly illustrated, unforgettable, extremely emotionally resonant, beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful…I highly, highly recommend this title for readers young and old.”—Fab Book Reviews

“This is an important book for pre-teens and young teens that deal with or know someone that deals with anxiety. A must for middle grade school libraries and would be an ideal conversation starter for classrooms. Like The ArrivalSmall Things is also a book this bookseller won’t forget.”—Marmalade Books

Small Things by Mel Tregonning is one of the most unique picture books I have read in a while….What a powerful message with powerful illustrations….[T]his book is a great starting pointing to help identify anxiety and ensure my son never let the demons win.”—Book Time

“This graphic picture book just blew me away….The drawings are amazing, showing the child’s emotions clearly. The way the drawings show the loss of self are brilliant and relatable. I absolutely loved this book and will be recommending it. The publisher information indicates a targeted age range of 8-12, but it can definitely be for adults as well.”—Canadian Bookworm

“The illustrations in this book are beautiful….[A] great, honest way to show how the demons of anxiety can consume a child or adult. I loved this picture book! It is a powerful story for adults or children.”—Jill Jemmett

“[E]veryone…has their own cracks and missing pieces and maybe by reaching out with kindness we all can slowly heal. Tregonning has written a wordless picture book, that is almost dense enough to be a graphic novel.”—Kiss the Book