My Strange Shrinking Parents


A heartbreaking and heart-warming story of the sacrifices parents make for their children, by CBCA New Illustrator of the Year 2021.


ISBN: 9781760761233 Category:

Zeno Sworder


WINNER of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year 2023
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?

In this heartbreaking and heart-warming story, CBCA award-winner Zeno Sworder reflects on his own migrant parents’ sacrifices to create a universal story about what it means to give to those you love. Drawing from the sacrifices his Chinese mother made to raise her young family in a small country town, Sworder’s drawings are full of beautiful detail and fairytale settings that explore his own journey from child to parent.

With humour and pathos, Sworder reflects on the strange nature of giving and receiving love and celebrates those parents who embrace a hard life for themselves in the hope of a better life from their children. Full of depth and generosity as well as insight and candour, Sworder brings this gorgeous fable to life.

Additional information

Weight 436 g
Dimensions 20.8 x 30 cm
Publisher name Thames & Hudson Australia Pty Ltd
Publication date 30 August 2022
Number of pages 40
Format Hardback
Dimensions 20.8 x 30 cm
Weight 436 g


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Zeno Sworder is a writer and artist who lives in Melbourne with his young family. After studying Chinese literature and migration law at university, he ended up as a dish washer. Later, he went on to work as a journalist, an English language teacher, a consular officer, an advocate for refugees and immigrants and a jewellery designer. He is a lover of all stationery but has a particular soft spot for pencils.

Sworder is the CBCA New Illustrator of the Year 2021, and his first book This Small Blue Dot was a CBCA Notable Book, the winner of the 2021 Australian Book Designers Association's Award for Best Designed Children's Illustrated Book, and the Designers' Choice Children's/Young Adult Book of the Year.