The Girl With Big, Big Questions – Britney Lee Winn and Jacob Souza

The Girl with Big, Big Questions by Britney Winn Lee, Jacob Souva
Also by this author: The Kid with Big, Big Ideas, The Boy with Big, Big Feelings, The Big, Big Feelings Activity Book
Series: The Big, Big Series #2
Published by Beaming Books on August 10, 2021
Genres: Children's
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From the bestselling Big, Big series comes a book that celebrates the spirit of curiosity and encourages kids to courageously ask their hard questions "Why can't people live on the moon?" "Can I be president when I grow up?" "What makes a person good?" These are just some of the questions that bubble forth from one little girl with twinkling eyes and a curious mind. When the girl finds that her big questions make some people uncomfortable, she stops. But then she learns that her questions can solve problems and that asking questions is how we learn and grow.
Celebrate the spirit of curiosity and the joy of learning with this lively picture book about a persistent girl and her quest for knowledge. The Big, Big series inspires kids to embrace whatever it is inside them that makes them unique--whether it's big feelings, big ideas, or big questions. Full of creativity and tenderness, each book in the series offers readers connection and companionship as they navigate the challenges of growing up.

Adults don’t often like it when children ask questions. Sometimes it’s because those questions seem dumb because we’ve forgotten that children lack the experience of adults. Sometimes it’s because those questions seem like an attack on our authority because we feel insecure. Sometimes it’s because those questions are difficult and we don’t know the answer and that feels like an attack on our intelligence. And sometimes, let’s be honest, the questions are just nonsensical. The innate curiosity and wonder of children are often stifled because it just makes adults feel uncomfortable.

The Girl with Big, Big Questions imagines what might happen if we began to take the questions of children seriously—to not only honor their curiosity but to come alongside them and seek answers. In the book, we’re introduced to a girl who has a lot of questions. The world is so very interesting! / She wanted to learn all she could, / from what makes a plane stay in the sky / to what makes each person good. The first part of the book raises all sorts of questions. Some are scientific. Some have clear and obvious answers. Some are philosophical or moral. Some have very complex or contextualized answer. Some have no answer at all.

Midway through the book, we hit a breaking point. Everybody is tired of the questions! Embarrassed, the girl tries to keep quiet “and not raise a voice so curious / so that no one would be too uncomfortable / or even worse, furious.” But then something happens. She sees a bird’s nest on a fence very close to the ground. Why would a nest not be in a tree? And the answer she finds is troubling: There are not enough trees in our town! She mobilizes her friends and they make the problem known and begin to fix it, leading to the big ending where the girl discovers that asking questions (and discovering answers) is how we learn, grow, and flourish as individuals and a community.

I have loved every installment of this series. The Boy with Big, Big Feelings started everything off with a discussion about the value of expressing one’s heart. The Kid with Big, Big Ideas was about the value of expressing one’s mind. And The Girl with Big, Big Questions is about the value of expressing one’s curiosity. The underlying philosophy—that children are humans who deserve to be valued for their thoughts and feelings—shouldn’t be a radical one, but it often is. Although it’s expressed in a simpler and more kid-friendly example in the book, we can see how the questions of children who are untainted and unjaded and ignorant of the way-things-are can bring about positive change as they question why things are not the way-things-should-be.

Jen Malia’s lyrical text keeps the rhythm flowing and the pages turning, while Jacob Souza’s illustrations pair perfectly inviting readers deeper into the story. I love these books, my kids love these books. They aren’t just books. They’re expressions of how we can parent better. They’re examples of how we can encourage our children and lead them toward flourishing. Whether it’s their feelings, questions, or ideas, children have valid and valuable things to express. We become richer as a society when we consider their wisdom. The Girl with Big, Big Questions is a child-honoring exploration of the value of childhood inquisitiveness. It encourages kids to ask their questions, and even more powerfully, it encourages parents and other adults to listen.