Marvelous New Picture Books: Little Humans (Humans of New York)


From the creator of the increasingly popular Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton, a photojournalist, has now published Little Humans. For those unfamiliar with the popular Facebook page, Humans of New York is a photo blog (and recently, book) with a collection of street portraits and interviews. Stanton has gained a large following—his photos and interviews are inspirational. Perhaps the reason why it is so popular is because these photos feature everyday people who serve as both mirrors and windows to others. Readers will be relieved to know that they are “not the only one” in whatever season of their life.


Little Humans is a compilation of children whom Stanton has photographed. These photos are accompanied by some inspirational text written in poetic verse. The main gist is that no matter what your age, you can still do great things. However, those who do great things are not superheroes—they too, need rest, friends, hugs, and love. Each verse has a colored, bolded word that draws attention to all the things that “little people” are capable of. The verses also have fun rhymes and alliteration.


One of my favorite aspects about this book is the fact that it embraces diversity. As I was browsing this book with my friend, she remarked, “This is the most diverse book I’ve seen.” Literally every race is represented. My only concern is that some of them are almost ironically stereotypical. For example, there is a picture of young, dancing Chinese girls dressed in red coats with yellow buttons, accompanied with the words, “Little humans can put on a show.” Similarly, the page that says “they learn” has a picture of an Asian man wearing Columbia University’s graduation cap and gown. But this was most likely not the author’s intention. There are also pictures of an African American girl demonstrating her flexibility skills and a young child with glasses sledding down a hill. Another thing to note is that while these pictures are individually diverse, every picture that has multiple people in it are people of the same race. This shows that people tend to congregate with others who are similar to themselves. However, it is important to remember that diversity is not just seen in the color of one’s skin. Throughout the book, we see people from different social classes and wearing different styles of dress.

Overall, Little Humans is a wonderful collection of photos with a motivational story behind it that encourages children to be themselves. And if anything goes wrong, all they have to do is stand back up, try again, and ask for help. Soon, people will see that little people can indeed do BIG things.

For more information on Brandon Stanton’s work, visit the Humans of New York website.

By: Michelle She


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