My Strange Shrinking Parents
Zeno Sworder & Zeno Sworder
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Australia
ISBN: 9781760761233
Awards Year: 2023
Category: Picture Book of the Year


It goes without saying that all children believe their parents to be strange.
Mine were unusual for a different reason…

One boy’s parents travel from far-off lands to improve their son’s life. But what happens next is unexpected. What does it mean when your parents are different? What shape does love take? And what happens when your parents sacrifice a part of themselves for you?


The CBCA judges say...

This book is a celebration and fresh perspective on love and self-denial, which many children of immigrant families may recognise, and for other children should help build empathy. Every part of this book design has been crafted with enormous care. The portrait shaped cover is tactile and contains an intriguing image. The end papers, filled with teapots, help to set the mood. There are muted backgrounds which imply hazy or slightly unreliable memories. Small objects appear extra-large helping the reader see the world from both perspectives. The sublime artwork situates itself within an Eastern aesthetic, making nods to the Willow Pattern story, while still giving voice to a surreal reality of immigrant life. The illustrations use light and shadow to great effect and the metaphor of size is repeated in the images beautifully reflecting the sacrifices the parents have made so that their child can grow in a new place, with new opportunities.


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