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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

When Emily Was Small

by (author) Lauren Soloy

Initial publish date
Jun 2020
Imagination & Play, General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3


A joyful frolic through the garden helps a little girl feel powerful in this beautiful picture book that celebrates nature, inspired by the writings of revered artist Emily Carr.

Emily feels small. Small when her mother tells her not to get her dress dirty, small when she's told to sit up straight, small when she has to sit still in school.

But when she's in the garden, she becomes Small: a wild, fearless, curious and passionate soul, communing with nature and feeling one with herself. She knows there are secrets to be unlocked in nature, and she yearns to discover the mysteries before she has to go back to being small . . . for now.

When Emily Was Small is at once a celebration of freedom, a playful romp through the garden and a contemplation of the mysteries of nature.

About the author


  • Short-listed, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
  • Short-listed, Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable - Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award
  • Short-listed, Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award

Contributor Notes

LAUREN SOLOY has lived on both coasts of Canada, always within reach of the sea. She has a Visual Arts B.F.A. with Honours from the University of Victoria, and a certificate of Fine Furniture from Camosun College. Along the way, she has learned to make a Queen Anne Highboy, a pottery mug, a hand knit pair of socks, a headstand and a mess. She lives in a 140-year-old house in the wilds of Nova Scotia with her librarian husband, two curious children, an ever-expanding collection of books, two hives of bees and one cat.

Editorial Reviews

Finalist for the 2021 TD Canadian Children's Book Award
One of Quill & Quire's Books of the Year
A 2021 Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Nominee
A 2021 Bank Street Book of the Year
One of CCBC’s Best Books for Kids and Teens, Fall 2021

“It’s an altogether mystical yet accessibly grounded story.” —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
"The poetic text, inspired by Emily’s actual writing in The Book of Small, has an enchanting, spirited quality about it." —Booklist
“The text is poetic yet frenetic, pulsing near the point of bursting with natural sights and sounds. . . . [T]he essence of Carr is here, and true.” —Quill & Quire
"Soloy’s poetic prose and sumptuous illustrations pay homage to this beloved artist and writer.
Atlantic Books Today
"Soloy's When Emily Was Small is a satisfying, challenging, beautiful picture book that deserves to be shared with young readers and the young at heart.” —CM Reviews

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