WINNER! 2022 Children’s Book Council of Australia New Illustrator Award.

Nominated for the 2022 West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award.

Highly commended – NSW Premier’s Literary Award

Finalist – 2022 Queensland Literary Award.

Long listed for the 2022 ABDA. Congratulations Pooja Desai. 

Shortlisted for the 2023 Speech Pathology book of the year award.

Winner of the 2023 Good House Magazine Best Kids Book Award – Picture book category.

On the New York Public Library best books for kids 2023 list.

Included on the list of Best Books of 2023 collated by ‘The Centre for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature.’

Bright Light Books – Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing

Illustrated by Michelle Pereira

When no amount of shrinking, folding or crumpling works, he simply settles for Zim – but deep down, it doesn’t feel right. It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he truly is that Zimdalamashkermishkada finds the confidence to step boldly into his long name.

A warm and uplifting story that encourages young readers to celebrate their individuality, and shows how no-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in. For ages 4 and up.

Themes: Diversity & Inclusion, Acceptance, Friendship.

🎨 Pair your reading of The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name with a collage name craft as below! 

Or click on the activity pack button above to download activity sheets.

✏ A cool skateboard activity by Mr. Leyton’s Little Learners.

Free template on Mr. Vandermonde’s TPT store here

Book Week 2022.

Dreaming with eyes open!

Thank you to all the lovely library staff and awesome kids who made this display at Indooroopilly library, @brisbanelibraries , with Zimdalamashkermishkada's name and collage art of their own names.
Thank you to the wonderful teacher and kids for their awesome display! And they've added a real ball of yarn!

          📕 STORY BOX HUB

Listen to Leah Vandenberg reading The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name on Story Box Library here.

It is amazing! And, there’s a craft activity to try at the end. 

You can access stories on SBH with your library card.

Check with your local library – in Australia.


Book Reviews

CBCA READING TIME – MEM CAPP “Beautifully supported by Michelle Pereira’s retro style illustrations in oranges, greens and browns, this deceptively simple tale about identity, belonging and acceptance, encourages the reader to reflect on the rich diversity of our multicultural nation and the challenges faced by immigrants and refugees.” Read the full review here

KIDS’ BOOK REVIEW – DIMITY POWELL The Boy Who Tried To Shrink His Name is a delicious juxtaposition of acceptance, assimilation and self-awareness that is the perfect fit for classroom and bedroom reading. And don’t worry about the pronunciation! Both text and pictures will give you all the confidence you need to embrace Zimdalamashkermishkada, as well.” Read the full review here

YOUR KIDS NEXT READMEGAN DALEY  “The absolute message of this story is the message that we do not have to shrink anything about ourselves for anyone else. It may seem like lots of picture books explore themes of self-identity but ‘The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name’ nails it in a way that is authentic, unique and will absolutely connect with the intended audience – from maybe 5 to…well I reckon it’s ageless!” Listen to the podcast here.

STORYLINKSMIA MACROSSAN “A charming and thought-provoking story. This timely and sensitively written story will amuse young children and give them some understanding and sympathy for those blessed with a wonderful but possibly difficult name.” Read the full review here.

READING OPENS DOORSELISE ELLERMAN “Sandhya Parappukkaran’s writing is a joy to read. Her lyrical writing is brimming with poetic turns of phrase with metaphors and similes used to engage the reader. These graphic descriptions help the reader to develop empathy for how Zimdalamashkermishkada feels about his name. Zimdalamashkermishkada takes the reader on a journey of discovery, acceptance, self-love and belonging. Along the way there are feasts to be enjoyed, lessons to be learnt and epiphanous moments to be had.” Read full review here

READILEARN – NORAH COLVIN: This is a beautiful book about culture and identity, about accepting ourselves and respecting others. As the blurb says, ‘No-one should ever have to shrink themselves down to fit in.’ Our names are an essential part of who we are. In both a profound and subtle way, through her story, Sandhya Parappukkaran shows us the importance of respect for others and their culture by something as simple, but significant, as learning to pronounce their names correctly. It really is a very special book that should be read in every classroom and every home to open hearts and minds and grow a culture of respect. I recommend it highly. Read full review here


@byronbiblio – I feel like the luckiest reader in Australia, because I get to be one of the first people to read this outstanding picture book ~ a Tikki Tikki Tembo for the modern age.

@littlelibraryowl – This is a perfect book for cultivating empathy, kindness, and acceptance, and would make a brilliant addition to school and library shelves everywhere! The story will be sure to spark important conversations about character and diversity, and is one to treasure.

@loveforlearning – The use of literary devices such as metaphor, personification and onomatopoeia make it a wonderful mentor text for use in a classroom.💚 Yet it’s the clever storyline that truly won me over. 

@bookieboobox – Similar to the likes of The Name Jar, The Boy Who Tried to Shrink his Name is simply lovely. From the inclusive message to the swoon-worthy colour palette, a new favourite for us.

@mightymuslimheroes – This book poetically shows children (and adults) that our names are parts of our identity and with practice they can be mastered to make us feel whole. That we can stand proud and expand our chests with pride.

@inda_binda – Sandhya’s imagery is exciting and at the same time very touching, as it brings Zimdalamashkermishkada’s worries to life in such a charming way. Michelle’s visual narration and her fabulous colour palette is simply inspired. Her illustrations carry the story masterfully from start to finish.

@itsalibrarianlife – This is such a beautiful story written by @sandhya_librarybagbooks A story about identity, belonging, diversity and inclusion, friendship, courage and being yourself.

@fletch_writes  – This is a book about racial diversity, acceptance and also not shrinking yourself or your personality to fit in. 

@apsarabaldovino – This is a book with captures my heart and felt it was written for me. Having an unusual Indian name growing up in the 80’s led me to try and shrink my name down… If only I had read this growing up! Thank you @sandhya_librarybagbooks

@michellewanasunderaauthor – We loved this story, sweet and funny but I love how he keeps true to his name rather than shortening it. A super important message.

@milo_reads – One from our library book haul this week – and such a great one at that! I absolutely loved this story. ~ What a sweet story about individuality and not trying to being anybody else.

@motherworkshard – I’ve found a perfect encouraging and uplifting book to help the reclamation of names. Readers, adults and kids alike can find pride in individuality. It’s also great for those who want to widen their perspectives. 

@mind_superheroes – We love that this book encourages readers to be themselves and to take the time to practise pronouncing people’s names correctly. Even if they’re in an unfamiliar language. 

@shameer_reads – This book will remind us to pay close attention to pronouncing difficult names of people which is the key ingredient to celebrating them because names matter. It influences who we are and how others view us. What a warm and uplifting book indeed!

@storytimebymagu – This book is the perfect opportunity to welcome everybody into our classrooms, and to encourage little ones to share their names and their stories to others. This book is illustrated in just the right way, transmitting a powerful message through them.

@readingopensdoors – This book is about not shrinking down in an attempt to fit in and appreciating the beauty in difference as well as the power of a person’s name which connects people not only to their identity, but family and cultural heritage.

Goodreads ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rory H. – It’s a rare occasion that you read something and realise it’s going to go down as ‘one of the classics’ but that is what I felt when I read this story. It has a beautiful message that has meaning for everyone and Sandhya’s use of metaphor is brilliant and timeless. From the perspective of a fellow writer, it was easy to recognise the care that Sandhya has put into her ‘art’. Every single word earnt it’s place and the story had such a great story arc. The colours palette used was also perfect for the story. Author and illustrator felt like a really natural pairing and it’s clear that the book itself will age really well. A must read for parents and teachers with children struggling with acceptance.

Supriya Cheriyan – “The boy who tried to shrink his name” sends a beautiful message “be yourself”. Author Sandhya Parappukkaran has successfully depicted the uncomfortable inner feelings of Zimdalamashker which I can relate to my childhood awkward moments. For little ones, this book would help them to picturise their feelings and overcome their fears gradually. At the same time, the book gives a sweet touch to the story with Zim’s mom’s cooking, Few sentences like ” we sit around the table munching soft ada and sticky coconut filling” took me on a ride to my childhood memories sharing adas with my siblings. A very good book to share with your 4.5+-year-olds and we look forward to seeing more diverse books from Sandhya.