Too Small Tola by Atinuke was a delightful read today. As I started reading the book, I was thinking and questioning so many things. I'd want the students and I to explore what the city Lagos and the country Nigeria look like and where they are located. There are words I want to pause and discuss with my students mammy-wagon, Grandmommy, oyinbo air, Tokunbos, and juju. The comparative language is rich and requires the reader to simmer with the thought. I can't wait to discuss these with my class. A natural way to model and discuss reading is thinking. One example is, "Grandmommy passes on her moods faster than mosquitoes pass on malaria."
The book has three chapters. The first one is about persistence and doing hard work while being a small person. Tola and her Grandmommy walk to the market and then carry everything home together not their heads. The next chapter is about being small and mighty while standing up for other people. The community is waiting to get water from a pump to take back to their apartments and there are some boys that aren't very nice. The last chapter is about helping out those in need and a community. Mr. Abdul breaks his leg and can't measure his clients for clothes for the upcoming Easter holiday. Tola and her brother step in and are very helpful.
I can't wait to share this book with my class. It's different from where and how we live with messages we all need.
A huge shoutout to Candlewick Press for sending along this Advanced Reader Copy.