What to Read After... Holly Webb 12/05/21
Too Small Tola
Publisher: Walker Books
This marvellous collection of three short stories introduces Tola, a young Nigerian girl who lives with her grandmother and two elder siblings in a one-room apartment, situated in a crumbling block of flats in the bustling city of Lagos.
Tired of the nickname ‘Too Small Tola’, she proves that, despite her small stature, she has a mighty personality and a big heart. In the first story, she helps Grandmummy carry the shopping back from market, balancing a large, heavy basket on her head. The second tale demonstrates her courage when she confronts a bully while queueing to collect water from the outside pump. Finally, Tola saves the day when she helps a neighbour who has broken his leg and is unable to work.
Tola’s determination, compassion and generosity are celebrated in this positive portrayal of a contemporary Nigerian family. Through the young girl’s experiences, children will learn about life in Lagos, from the bumper-to-bumper traffic on hot, dusty roads to the stark contrast between rich and poor. Readers will also identify with Tola’s universal concerns, such as sibling tensions and facing up to bullies. Splendid black-and-white drawings feature throughout, bringing the characters and location to life with warmth and humour.