READ Abigail’s review of Lori’s book, Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All).
What inspired you to write Being Small?
When my daughter, Hayley, was 3, her teachers hung up a growth chart in her preschool classroom. While her friends’ names were at the top and middle of the chart, Hayley’s name was at the bottom, with no other names in sight. It was the first time she realized she was different from her peers, and they realized she was different, too. Unable to find a book with a short heroine, I wrote Being Small!
As we approach anti-bullying month what advice would you give to schools on how to deal with bullying?
Schools should establish a formal bullying prevention program and reward students for showing kindness. The topic of bullying prevention can also be easily incorporated into lessons and activities for younger grade levels. Additionally, schools should make sure all staff in the building—from the principal to the janitor—are trained on what bullying is, the school’s policies and rules are and how to enforce them.
What did your daughter think when she read the book for the first time?
She couldn’t believe it. We had been working so closely on the book together, and to see it come together was a very special moment for the two of us that I’ll forever treasure.
Were you bullied as a child? What did you know now you want to know back then?
I was —my last name was Geller, so I was called Geller Smeller. It was an awful feeling to be bullied. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to let bullies get to me. People who bully behave the way they do because they want attention. Ignoring bullying behavior (as long as you do not feel threatened) may be one of the best ways to get a bully to stop engaging in that behavior.
What other books have you written?
My second book, The Tooth Fairy’s Tummy Ache, is coming out in 2020. It is a sweet story about a little girl who swallows her tooth. The book uses the Tooth Fairy to teach readers a lesson on honesty.
How do you balance motherhood and being an author?
I always put my family first, which is why I often write when my kids are asleep or at extracurricular activities.
Do you do book signings in school or libraries?
Yes! My favorite part of being an author is to connect with kids. I love discussing the book with them and pulling out the important themes because you get to see how every child thinks.
What other tools do you use in your family to build self-esteem?
I think it all starts with self-acceptance. I personally teach my kids to notice what makes them different and to look at those differences as an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Then they can really be comfortable with and embrace who they are.
What is one lesson you want readers to take away from the book Being Small?
I want readers to know that we are all special in our own way. Our differences are what makes us special—not set us apart.
About Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is a multi-award-winning children’s book author, freelance writer and marketing director who lives in Chicago. At 5”1, she wishes her book Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All) was around while she was growing up. Lori is certified by the Center for Disease Control’s Stopbullying.org in Bullying Prevention and Response Training and is an ambassador for the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center.