IU alumna Lori Orlinsky’s first children’s book, “Being Small (Isn’t so Bad After All),” will be released April 16.
Orlinsky graduated from IU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She also worked at the Indiana Daily Student as a campus editor, general assignments reporter and police beat reporter.
Orlinsky’s book, “Being Small (Isn’t so Bad After All),” is an illustrated picture book about a little girl who is scared to go to school because she's the shortest kid in the class and can’t do the same things her classmates do easily, such as play basketball or go on rides.
Over the course of the story, the girl’s mother teaches her about the good things about her height and the things only she can do because of it, making the girl excited to go to school again. The book is currently available for preorder on Amazon.
The story was inspired by real life.Two years ago, Orlinsky’s then-3-year-old daughter Hayley told her she didn’t want to go to school anymore because she was the shortest kid in class.
When Orlinsky tried to find a children’s book to teach Hayley about the good things about being short, she couldn’t find one. So she decided to write one, hoping it would help her 3-year-old daughter Ellie in the future as well.
Orlinsky said the process of writing and publishing a book was long, overwhelming and incredibly frustrating at times.
“I was so motivated by the message I wanted to relay in the book that I just kept pushing myself to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Orlinsky said. "I was fortunate to find a wonderful publisher, Mascot Books, early on in the process. They paired me with an incredibly talented, detail-oriented illustrator who really understood the vision I wanted to portray.”
Orlinsky said she didn’t want bullying to hurt her daughters’ self-esteem, especially as they started school.
“While I knew that when kids and teachers called Hayley ’peanut’ and ’munchkin’ they didn't do so with malicious intent, I didn't want Hayley to be another statistic,” she said. “I wanted to create an opportunity for her to open a book, point to the character and say "hey, that child looks like me, and I like the decisions she made."
Orlinsky said children need to see characters in books they can relate to who model positive behavior.
“Often times, children take cues from the books they read,” she said. “If I can convince just one child who feels different that it is precisely these differences that them special, then that's success to me.”
She says in a world with violent video games and entertainment content not always suited for kids, story time becomes an important safe space and intimate bonding experience in the parent-child relationship.
“‘Being Small’ can help engage conversations about feelings and how our words can impact others,” she said.