Big Problems, Little Problems is the story of how a dad teaches his son to solve the daily challenges of life – and, in turn, the surprising ways in which a child can teach a grown-up to remember what is important, too.
We invite you into this charming picture book about a single dad (a rarity in the picture book world) and his little boy, who turns out to be very wise. From their secret handshake to their mutual problem-solving, this father and son have winning ways.
Written with lessons that apply to any family with young children, the book is distinctively told from a father's perspective, and built on how a son and dad listen to and learn from each other. This is a tale of how to conquer frustration no matter what the problem.
About the Author
Ben Feller is a communications advisor and a former Chief White House Correspondent for The Associated Press, the largest news organization in the world. During his years of questioning and covering Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, he led the White House press corps, traveled aboard Air Force One hundreds of times, and was honored as a “master of deadline reporting.” Now he is writing about his personal passion: being a dad.
Merce López graduated from Llotja Art School in Barcelona and has illustrated for design, theater, and film as well as twenty children’s books for Spanish and international book publishers. Her 2019 title Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas received multiple starred reviews and was named a Center for Children’s Books Gryphon Honor Book, an NCTE Notable Poetry Book, a Kirkus Best Picture Book, and a Parents Magazine Best Kids’ Book, among other accolades. In a starred review of I Am Smoke (Tilbury House, 2021), Kirkus called her illustrations “Lustrous” and “Exquisitely beautiful.” In his 100 Scope Notes column for School Library Journal, Travis Jonker called I Am Smoke “One of the most astonishingly unconventional children’s books of 2021. Here’s to children’s books that expand our assumptions of what a children’s book can be.”
I could not have found a more relatable book if I tried. This book showed up right before Father’s Day and I thought it was a book for that… turns out it is the best book ever for toddlers, dads, moms, and really just about everyone. We have really been in the thick of things over here with two toddlers, so books like these that just ?g e t ?i t? are lifesavers. Trying to explain to children that something isn’t that big of a deal is impossible, especially if they’re not developmentally ready to understand perspectives quite yet. But this book is brilliant and can help children take those first steps by labeling frustrations as a “big” or “little” problems and starting to not categorize everything as just catastrophically awful.
A father helps his son manage his frustrations by helping him gain some perspective. Together they decipher if situations are big or little problems and in the end, this lesson is applied to the dad showing a perfect example of how all of us can benefit from practicing what we preach. It’s a good reminder that we should all take our own advice sometimes and that even as adults we have bad days, so our children should be granted that right as well.
There is truly so darn much to love about this amazing book and its lovely detailed illustrations.
— Neeti - Books Grow Minds
Ben Feller was able to share his thoughts on fatherhood with me. We talk about his fatherhood journey and the values he looks to instill into his son. After that we talk about his book, Big Problems, Little Problems. Lastly we finish the interview with the Fatherhood Quick Five.
Ben Feller On Fatherhood: Art Eddy: What popped into your mind when you found out you were going to be a dad?
Ben Feller: I love the kid already. How is that possible?
AE: What are some of the core values you look to instill in your son as he grows up?
BF: Empathy, respect, courtesy, patience, honesty. And root for the Yankees, of course.
AE: What is something that you learned from your son about yourself or about life in general?
BF: That even my own big problems are often little ones when I take a moment to have perspective. He learned that and now he teaches it to me.
AE: What is the one biggest piece of advice you have for new dads?
BF: Expect to work really hard, as being a dad is the most important and rewarding job you will ever have — but it’s OK to ask for help, too.
Ben Feller On Book: AE: What inspired you to write Big Problems, Little Problems
BF: The moment my son, from his car seat, reminded me that my frustration over a traffic jam was not a “big problem” but a “little problem.” He heard me all those years and he helps me, too.
AE: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
BF: That daily life can be so much easier if we approach problems with patience, perspective, humor and deep breaths. It actually works.
AE: What does your family think of the book?
BF: My family is proud and they all want signed copies, especially from my son, Sam.
AE: You are an award-winning writer that covered two presidents. Do you have a surreal story that you experienced that you would like to share while working in that role?
BF: When my son turned one, we took him to the White House to see the New York Giants be honored for winning the Super Bowl. While we were there, President Obama’s team invited us in for a minute so the president could meet Sam. It was a scorching hot day, and Sam’s mom and I did everything we could to keep him from having a meltdown. That’s what parenting is: constant problem-solving. We took off Sam’s shoes and socks to keep him cool. Just then, the president came out to greet us. He said, “By all means, if you’re coming to meet the president, you can come in barefoot. It’s only the Oval Office.” (He was being lighthearted, and the photos of that day are tremendous.)
The Fatherhood Quick Five: AE: Do you guys have a favorite family movie that you all love to watch together?
BF: The new Top Gun movie has blown all the others away. For now. We loved it.
AE: Do you guys have a favorite song that you all like to sing to or dance to as a family?
BF: This one is a moving target. Right now it’s Bang! by AJR
AE: Describe the perfect family vacation.
BF: Ocean. Cheeseburgers. Repeat. (And oh, we have.)
AE: Favorite children’s book when you were a kid was?
BF: I loved the original Fortunately, Unfortunately. Life just bounces you all around.
AE: What are three words that you hope your son would use to describe you as a dad?
BF: Caring, loving and nice. (I asked him. Always go to the source.)
— Arthur Eddy - The Art of Fatherhood
Big Problems, Little Problems seamlessly weaves ‘big’ topics — perspective, frustration, patience — into a charming narrative that highlights the magical bond between father and son. It’s a sweet and lovely read that helps children sort out what matters and what doesn’t — and will likely have kids and dads around the country coming up with their own secret handshakes!
— Savannah Guthrie, Co-Anchor of the TODAY morning show and Co-Author of “Princesses Wear Pants” and “Princesses Save the World.”
Big Problems, Little Problems illuminates one of the sublime joys of parenting: when our kids help us better understand the lessons we are so intent on teaching them. This fun – and fun-to-read – book about perspective and perseverance is a bedtime favorite at our house.
— Josh Earnest, Chief Communications Officer at United Airlines and former White House Press Secretary for President Barack Obama
In Big Problems, Little Problems, Ben Feller focuses on a vital lesson that's rarely seen in a father-themed resource: the bidirectional aspect of a quality relationship between a dad and his child in which they learn from each other. It's a lesson that anyone who uses this wonderful book will appreciate.
— Christopher Brown, President of the National Fatherhood Initiative
Where was Ben Feller when I was raising little kids?! We could have used his warm and lovingly-delivered lessons on patience, perspective, and the difference between big and little problems.
— Jim Axelrod, Senior National Correspondent for CBS News and author of "In The Long Run: A Father, A Son, and Unintentional Lessons In Happiness.”
Beyond being a charming story capturing relatable moments in the life of a father and child, Big Problems, Little Problems beautifully shares social and emotional strategies that will benefit all kids, from using in-the-moment coping skills for managing frustration to building emotional regulation and becoming a more flexible thinker.
— Debbie Reber, parenting activist and author of “Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World.”
When we raise our children right, we learn more about life than we can possibly teach our kids. Big Problems, Little Problems is a heartwarming tale about a father and son who conquer life's frustrations together with perspective and patience.
— Ron Fournier, Detroit communications consultant and author of “Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations."