LET’S ALL GO SMALL by best-selling illustrator and funny guy Jim Paillot, who has festooned over 60 kids’ books with his clever artwork

I’m a pretty small guy. As a kid I was always the shortest guy in class. From kindergarten right on through high school. You know those signs at carnivals that say, “You must be at least this tall to ride this ride”? Those signs were my arch enemy. Here’s a little tip: you can gain an extra inch in height if you wear extra long bell bottomed pants to hide the fact that you are on your tip toes when the carnival ride gatekeeper measures you. I’d like to tell you that one summer I hit a miraculous, crazy growth spurt and finally made the basketball team but this is real life.

I think you get the picture—I was little.

I’m still a small guy. But here’s what I have learned to embrace as I grew up. Small actions can make a big difference. I’m not talking about how planting a seed can bring forth a mighty, majestic oak tree. That’s true but that’s not what I am talking about at all. I’m talking about how if you see someone who is having a bad day you can step up and remind that person how wonderful they are. Sometimes people need to be reminded about what their soul already knows. That’s the kind of small act that can bring about big changes. You could help a friend with their homework, plan a community garden, go to a local shelter and walk dogs or help a neighbor bring her recycling to the curb. Small actions to you and I might be huge for the one you are helping.

You can make a world of difference no matter where you are. When I think of the world I am in I imagine that I have a direct impact on roughly the area around me as far as I can throw a rock. That’s the part of the world I have a little control over at any given moment—a circular perimeter based on how far my voice and actions can reach. And that circle follows me where ever I go. I try my best to be kind and polite to people, animals and our planet in my “as far as I can throw a rock” world. In that small world, I can pick up litter, help old ladies carrying groceries, rub dogs’ tummies, recycle, plant flowers for bees, conserve water and mostly just try to be a good guy.

I figure that if everyone made these small differences in their own “as far as I can throw a rock” world then this planet would be a pretty GREAT PLACE TO LIVE! You can tell I mean it because I wrote it in all caps—the tallest letters in the alphabet.

Jim Paillot is the illustrator for the funny My Weird School series by Dan Gutman and the popular Secrets of a Lab Rat series written by Trudi Trueit. He has illustrated more than sixty books. Among other awards, Jim was the recipient of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for his artwork for the Grubtown Tales books written by Philip Ardagh. To see more of his work go to www.jimpaillot.com or www.drawger.com/paillot/


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