Our Big Little Place

Written by: James A. Conan

Illustrated by: Nicolle LaLonde

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English 

Topics Covered: City Life, Interracial Families, Friends, Apartment Life, Pets, Imagination.

Summary: 

This book follows a child as they talk about their life in an apartment building.  Sometimes their parents talk about how small it is, but their home is perfect to our narrator.  The apartment is perfect for pretending to be pirates, for games of hide and seek in the dark, and for looking out at the other tall buildings that make up the city the family lives in.  There’s even a park nearby that everyone calls “the backyard” fondly, and lots of families in nearby buildings gather there to hangout and play together.

This is a very sweet book that emphasizes the community that can often be found in an apartment building, and also provides representation to the many families that live in an urban neighborhood.  For a home to be the “perfect” size is very relative, and our narrator can do all of their favorite things already so why move? I love the representation of an interracial family, and the diverse representation in the illustrations.  I love the joy that the narrator brings to the story with their big imagination and desire for adventure. Instead of focusing on what the family doesn’t have, the narrator is excited about all that they do have.  This gratitude is so wonderful to read about in a story, and to teach readers!

This book was kindly sent to us by the author, and it was published by Annick Press.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

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James A. Conan is the author of Our Big Little Place. He studied Politics and International Development at Trent University, and graduated from Centennial College’s Book, Magazine, and Electronic Publishing Program. Through his studies there, he was introduced to some of the wonderful people at Annick Press that made Our Big Little Place possible.

His own big little place is in the east end of Toronto, where he’s lived for most of his life. He enjoys days at the beach, cooking, and a good book.

He isn’t really a cartoon, but that would be nice.

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Nicolle LaLonde is an illustrator who works and lives in the city of Toronto, in Canada. Since she was small, Nicolle has been creating and followed her dream to OCAD University, where she graduated from the illustration program.

Nicolle grew up exploring the woods near her house, reading about animals and watching Studio Ghibli movies on tape, things that she credits to her love of nature and visual storytelling today.

Nicolle’s inspirations to create include 19th century folk art, 1980’s anime, midcentury children’s books and Art Deco era magazines – and she loves all things retro and kitsch.

In Nicolle’s off time she enjoys reading, vegan cooking, spooky stories and exploring the outdoors. She lives with her engineering boyfriend and beloved robot vacuum.

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