About 10 years ago I read this book about small people (they were a different race than humans I think) who are living in a big English or American city. They hide from normal people and live in lost buildings or subway tunnels. I remember that the story was about some problems they had with the police or something.

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    Could this be the Borribles? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Borrible_Trilogy. They had problems with the police - they called them 'woollies'. They were children, so depends on how small you mean. They lived in abandoned houses. May 28, 2020 at 9:31
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    Do you recall how small the characters were? E.g. something like child-sized compared to adults, insect sized, somewhere in between? May 28, 2020 at 9:40
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    Is it a children's book? If so, maybe it's one of Terry Pratchett's Nome / Bromeliad trilogy? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nome_Trilogy
    – PM 2Ring
    May 28, 2020 at 11:06
  • YES it is the Borribles! I didnt think someone would guess it so fast. I really remembered almost nothing. Thank you very much @SpikeHolden and the others for your suggestions!
    – mindberg
    May 28, 2020 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


This is the Borribles – a trilogy of books by Michael de Larrabeti. It features runaway children who become 'Borribles' (match: 'small people') in London ('big English … city') and live in abandoned houses ('lost buildings'). They hide from the police who they call 'Woollies'.

Their rivals are the 'Rumbles' who are a rather obvious parody of the Wombles (down to the names of their leaders).

Marketed as a young adult book, but very dark in its atmosphere and theme.

One of my favourite series and I own a copy on my shelf (not the new covers which look awful and ignore the fact that Borribles wear caps to hide their pointy ears). Would make a great TV/film series.

  • For some reason it really got stuck in my head over all the years. It is a really liberating feeling to know it now, thanks again :D I am looking forward to read it!
    – mindberg
    May 28, 2020 at 13:13
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    Is this name chosen deliberately to evoke The Borrowers?
    – shoover
    May 29, 2020 at 21:33

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