Margin Notes



“Once there was a girl with a big laugh and a big heart and very big dreams.” So begins the picture book Big by Vashti Harrison. This thoughtful book tells the story of a little girl who just wants the freedom to be herself, and not what society has deemed she should be. A fantastic read aloud option for middle and high school; there are many themes and craft moves students could explore.


Here are a few things that you might considering noticing with students:

Author’s Craft

  • The use of colour to depict mood. In the story, the main character is always accompanied by the colour pink. The hue becomes more or less saturated as the story unfolds. What colour would you choose to depict your mood?
  • The word choice. Vashti Harrison fills this book (both in the story and out) with descriptive words…(hint: take off the book jacket and have a look). This would be a great book to use a 
  • The use of different fonts when different characters speak. Students could try this out in their own writing. 

Watch the video below with your class…Vashti Harrison talks about her motivations for writing the book, as well as a lot of the craft moves she makes as an author.

Here are some different articles that you could pair with Big: Girlhood Interrupted, Weight Bias

And here are some books available on SORA that would make a great text set to delve further into the topic: 

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