Abigail the Whale is a new OwlKids publication written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Sonja Bougaeva.
The pleasantly plump protagonist Abigail is, in no uncertain terms, being bullied by her classmates – although Cali never uses the word bullied. Abigail always tries to be last in line during swim class because when she dives the other children yell, “ABIGAIL IS A WHALE!” Abigail feels heavy and her classmates’ mean-spirited teasing weighs her down.
One day, the swimming teacher pulls Abigail aside:
“We are what we think,” her teacher said. If you want to swim well, you have to think light. Do you suppose birds or fish think they’re too heavy? Of course not!
“So if you want to feel light, think light! Try it!“
Abigail begins to actualize this practice. In the shower she thinks “water” and feels herself pleasantly liquidizing. On her way home, in the dark, Abigail feels small and scared so she thinks “giant!” As the week progresses Abigail applies her teacher’s advice and soon it is time for swimming class again…
Instead of addressing the bullies directly- which, in reality, can be an exercise in futility – this book encourages self-reliance. Abigail learns she is in control of her self-image and no bullies or unkind words can affect her self-worth once she takes command of her own inner dialogue. Sonja Bougaeva’s illustrations are bold and bright, surrounding the robust Abigail and her fantastical new outlook on life in the welcoming blue of the pool.
A great new book that confronts bullying and body image.