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Too Small Tola
Atinuke with illustrations by Onyinye Iwu


Tola lives in an apartment in the busy city of Lagos, Nigeria, with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmommy, who is very bossy. Tola may be small, but she's strong enough to carry a basket brimming with groceries home from the market, and she's clever enough to count out Grandmommy's change. When the faucets in the apartment break, it's Tola who brings water from the well. And when Mr. Abdul, the tailor, has an accident and needs help taking his customers' measurements, only Tola can save the day.


Atinuke is a Nigerian-born author who started her career doing traditional oral storytelling. Her books include a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Winner, a Notable Book for a Global Society, a Cybils Award Winner, and an Africana Award Winner. She lives in Wales.

Onyinye Iwu was born in Italy to Nigerian parents and moved to England when she was thirteen. She is a designer, illustrator, and educator. Too Small Tola is her first book for children. She lives in London.


"Too Small Tola has a diminutive heroine, but it's a big charmer and treats its newly capable readers with a respect that will make them feel knowledgeable and sophisticated." --The Wall Street Journal

"Nigerian-born children's author Atinuke introduces a memorable new heroine in Too Small Tola...Atinuke is a masterful storyteller, playing with language and rhythm as she evokes Tola's world. Every sentence is fun to read...Too Small Tola's gentle morals linger with an unusually satisfying combination of inevitability and surprise...Onyinye Iwu renders Tola and her family in endearing and expressive images that capture their personalities perfectly. Too Small Tola will make readers eager to read more about Tola; Lagos is clearly bursting with more stories to tell. --BookPage (starred review)

"Tola is small, but she is mighty. In three episodic chapters, Tola uses her not-inconsequential perseverance to help her grandmother, other family members, and those in her wider Lagos community. . . Atinuke's writing is rich with imagery and replicates the music and rhythm of Tola's daily life. The stories are copiously illustrated with line drawings of a round-faced, appealingly welcoming protagonist. The friendly format, universal emotional truths, helpful illustrations, and strong writing work together to immerse young readers in Tola's world." --The Horn Book (starred review)

[H] Candlewick Press (MA)  /  March 02, 2021

0.6" H x 8.0" L x 5.4" W (0.45 lbs) 96 pages