A Little Space for Me is a modern story of having our emotions and the space to deal with them. Jennifer Gray Olson’s take of dealing with the everyday stress of too many people, too much noise and other issues kids face today, is spiritual. Our young narrator has loud family and school and so much more to deal with they just want a little space. And they take it. You see in the illustrations that they literally take a bit of sky/space and put it in a little jar necklaced around her neck. But some days she needs more. And takes it. And keeps taking it until jars, pots, pans, and more is filled. But also, our heroine realizes that sometimes, when you have had just enough (and a little bit more) you are happy to share that space with others.
We see a multigenerational family and multi-race family. You see a Zen look to the illustrations that are busy, but not too busy. The colors bold, but not too bold. The naturalness of the family and idea of needing alone time is comfortable. The book is cozy. Yes, you can feel the build up to the “explosion,” but never do you feel like you will need your own space.
Olson’s art is perhaps my favorites part of this picture book. They are realistic but fanciful too. They are part of the silly aspect of the book, countering the more seriousness of the theme. And while I am no fan of the word “mindfulness” this is a good example and way to introduce the subject to the five to eight crowd.