The Small Things


Miss Burnell’s class are intrigued by the new girl, but more so when it appears that her illness means that she must attend virtually, in robot form. She becomes Ellie-Bot, able to  participate and engage.

Anna is surprised when Miss Burnell nominates her to be Ellie’s particular ‘buddy’, to interact, share information about school and herself. After all Anna lives a small life; she feels overwhelmed by the experiences of Nia, Shavina and Erin with their go-karting, ice-skating and skiing. Meanwhile, she bakes, watches telly and goes supermarket shopping with her mother and little brother on days more likely to offer price discounts.  What can Anna share with Ellie?

Therefore, when Anna finds herself exaggerating her life, it’s really an act of survival, or so it might seem. Yet what if Ellie believes Anna? Thereafter, what if Ellie discovers the truth about Anna? How might Anna recover, and then seek to explain to Ellie? After all, Ellie has so much to deal with that to be lied to might be rather too much to bear….

The Small Things is a third novella from Lisa Thompson and Barrington Stoke. Like Owen and the Soldier and The House of Clouds, it demonstrates this writer’s insightfulness and empathy. We understand Anna’s lack of self esteem and ‘feel’ her ordinariness; her life is the life we live. Thereafter, we cheer those around her who lead her toward making a gentle, real discovery. What a beautiful book.

The Small Things is created in a dyslexia friendly format.

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The Small Things

Lisa Thompson

(Barrington Stoke)

Anna is certain that ‘Nia would – [be] a far better person’- ‘to be Ellie’s go-to person for any questions- about school life’. After all Nia, like Shavina and Erin, live big lives. They go ice-skating, street dancing and go-karting. Meanwhile, Anna goes to the supermarket after school with Mum and Henry, on a day when there might be special offers. These are The Small Things in Anna’s life. How can she share these with Ellie?
Ellie is seemingly Ellie-Bot, confined to school life through a robot representative. However, she participates as fully as she can within the class day and seems genuinely engaged in everything that Anna has to share with her, as her ‘buddy’. Yet Anna’s doubts about her own appeal lead her to invent another life, the one she sees in other classmates, rather than telly and baking and her own reality. There is no chance she will be found out, is there?
Lisa Thompson is a rare writer in that she creates stories that seem as though we can step right inside her setting. Therefore we feel Anna’s awkwardness, while perceiving Ellie’s vulnerability, not only through her robot persona, but also the experience. This is not drawn upon, yet somehow we ‘know’. Then there’s the gentle appreciation of the adults in the story; of Anna’s lack of self esteem, her reasons for inventing and how she might reinstate herself. Like Owen and the Soldier and The House of Clouds, this is an empathetic, small but powerful novella, that we recommend highly. The Small Things is created in a dyslexia friendly format.


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