The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
by Justin Roberts,
@ SPL: JP Rober
Little Sally McCabe was a very quiet girl. She was also the smallest girl in the youngest grade of the school. Hardly anyone noticed her.
Sally, on the other hand, noticed almost everything around her. This was because she always paid extra special attention.
She noticed exactly how many keys were on the school janitor’s ring, how quickly the leaves changed colour in the fall, and where each abandoned kite was in every tree.
Sally also noticed each sad or embarrassed face, each schoolyard “snub”, and each hurt feeling. One day, having witnessed yet another hurtful incident of teasing in the cafeteria, she couldn’t stand it any longer.
With her hand in the air, she shouted, “I’m tired of seeing this terrible stuff. Stop hurting each other! This is enough!”
Everyone heard Sally. Soon she was joined by other students, staff and teachers – and even the principal – who all agreed that there was far too much unkindness, meanness, exclusion and bullying in their school.
And so it happened that the smallest girl in the smallest grade sparked a big change in her school, with her schoolmates becoming kinder and acting more considerately toward one another.
Told in rhyme, the story’s messages about empathy, fairness and standing up for what is right could spark a worthwhile conversation with elementary students about these relevant issues. The idea that even a little person can make a difference will resonate with them.
Justin Roberts is a Grammy-nominated children’s musician and his picture book is loosely based on his song “Billy the Bully.”
Illustrator Christian Robinson, whose vibrant, coloured pencil artwork is very appropriate for this wonderful picture book, notes that he was once the “thinnest, shyest boy in the smallest grade.”
** Recommended for ages four to seven.
– Sally Hengeveld, librarian