Tag Archives: gender stereotypes

When Aidan Became a Brother

Written by: Kyle Lukoff

Illustrated by: Kaylani Juanita

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English 

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Gender Identity, Family, LGBTQ Youth, Trans Experience, Gender Stereotypes, Growing Up, Pregnancy, Siblings, Social-Emotional Learning, Empathy.

Summary: Since it’s Corrie’s birthday, she wanted to post a book that she’s currently loving and can’t stop talking about.  This book is SO cute, we’re a bit obsessed with it.  It tackles several issues all at once, and each is incredibly well-done and easy for young readers to understand.  This is a book that belongs in every classroom as soon as possible, and we are so grateful to the author and incredibly talented illustrator for bringing this story to life.

Everyone thought that Aidan was a girl when he was born, and when he was young it was frustrating to be so misunderstood.  Eventually, he figured out a way to express himself and his parents helped make the adjustments he wanted so he could feel more comfortable in what he wore and what his bedroom looked like.  Now that Aidan’s mother is pregnant again, Aidan wants to make sure he’s the best big brother possible and this includes making sure that the new baby isn’t misunderstood like he was.  The book goes through a lot of the preparations a family makes when getting ready for a new addition, with special care taken not to gender the new baby or put any stereotypes in place in terms of a name or room color.  A particularly adorable illustration shows Aidan researching names in a baby name book, but he has changed the title from “boys and girls” to “babies and babies”, specifically wanting a neutral name.

The care that Aidan takes shows an immense amount of empathy for his new sibling, wanting them to feel wholly loved and cared for without any of the pressures that gender stereotyping places on a new life.  In the back of the story is an author’s note about Kyle Lukoff’s own journey to being his authentic self, and it adds another level of tenderness to the story itself.

This book was sent to us by the Lee & Low for review, but all opinions are our own!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

head+shot+copyKyle Lukoff writes books for kids and other people, here is a bit more about him from Kyle’s website! “Right now you can read A STORYTELLING OF RAVENS and WHEN AIDAN BECAME A BROTHER. Soon you’ll be able to read the MAX AND FRIENDS series, and also EXPLOSION AT THE POEM FACTORY.

I’m also a school librarian. When I’m not helping my students finds books I review professionally, assist in sensitivity readings and consultations, and present on the importance of children’s and youth literature all across the country.

I was born outside of Chicago, and moved to Washington State when I was five. I moved to New York City for college in 2002 and never left, except for an extremely brief attempt at law school. I got hired at Barnes and Noble when I was sixteen, and have been working at the intersection of books and people for over half my life. I write about transgender kids, collective nouns, poetry, and queer lives.”

juanitaKaylani Juanita is an illustrator based in Fairfield, CA who illustrates inclusive picture books, editorial art, and afros. Some of her clients include Chronicle Books, Cicada Magazine, and DEFY. Her work has been recognized by Society of Illustrators, The Huffington Post, as well as BBC. California grown and raised, she’s studied at Cal Arts and CCA for a BFA in Illustration. Her mission as an artist is to support the stories of the under represented and create new ways for people to imagine themselves. You can find her lurking in public secretly drawing strangers or writing nonsensical stories about who knows what.

Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too)

Written & Illustrated by: Keith Negley

For ages: 3 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Social-Emotional Learning, Gender, Gender Stereotypes, Toxic Masculinity, Friendship, Family, Tenderness, Sadness, Love. 

Summary: This is an adorable book that helps to dispel myths that create toxic masculinity.  Focusing on “tough guys” like superheroes, ninjas, and bikers, the book talks about how everyone feels feelings and it’s ok to show them.

The book’s wording is simple and assuring, the bright illustrations giving plethora of examples when a person might be feeling strong emotions like frustration or sadness.  This book is also great for decoding emotions on others’ faces, and provides rich opportunities for discussion about social-emotion skills that can branch off to brainstorming about how to problem-solve or make a sad friend feel better.

There are so many distressing stereotypes that people feel pressure to fulfill.  This includes the ultra-masculine sports enthusiast and the delicate flowery ballerina, none of escape unscathed.  We as educators and caregivers have the power to take some of the pressure off to conform, and we are obligated to do as such.  Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) is great because of it’s simplicity, it can be read to young audiences and begin to counteract the negative effects of forced toughness.

This book was sent to us by Flying Eye, but all opinions are our own!

About the Author & Illustrator:

Keith’s work has appeared on book covers, children’s books, t-shirts, album covers, posters, skateboard decks, and even a watch. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and New Yorker in addition to many other national publications. He received his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2000, and his MFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2013 and doesn’t regret the student debt one bit. He’s won 4 medals from the Society of Illustrators, a medal from the Society of Illustrators West, and 2 medals from the 3×3 International Illustration annual. His book Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) received a Kate Greenaway Medal nomination in 2016. His most recent book Mary Wears What She Wants was released in January 2019 with Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins). Keith resides in the mountains of Bellingham Washington with his wife and two boys surrounded by giant spiders and teaches illustration at Western Washington University.

What Riley Wore

Written by: Elana K. Arnold

Illustrated by: Linda Davick

For ages: 2-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Friendship, Gender Expression, Gender Neutral Pronouns, Family, Love, Acceptance, Fashion, Creativity, Social-Emotional Learning.

Summary: Riley is a creative dresser, and often dresses based on how they feel!  Some outfits are just right for the first day of school (like a bunny outfit) and some outfits are perfect for the dentist (something to make you feel brave!)

This is an incredibly adorable story about Riley and how the dress.  Riley dresses in whatever they want, and has a creative gender expression.  The book goes through a week of Riley’s outfits and the reasoning behind why Riley chose them.  We really love that Riley isn’t gendered in this book, because clothes are for everyone and there are many children who don’t want to be a boy or a girl (and some who feel like both)!  We also really love that not wearing anything at all sometimes is totally normal!  Normalizing all experiences, feelings, and bodies is something we love to see along with a diverse friend group in a book. Riley themself is racially ambiguous, which is a novel change from the barrage of white characters so often seen in books.

Both non-gendered and non-binary representation is so crucial, as is not promoting gender stereotypes.  Seeing this book is a fantastic representation of how times are changing.  Because really, it doesn’t matter how Riley identifies.  Riley wants to be a good friend and shows several examples of kindness and thinks about others consistently throughout the book.  When a child asks if Riley is a boy or a girl on the playground, they answer in a perfect way that suits them best.  We highly recommend this book, especially for young ones who may be thinking that there are specific clothing pieces or colors that only specific kids should wear.  This is a book we can see being requested to be read over and over!

This book was generously sent to us by Beach Lane Books (an iteration of Simon and Schuster Kids) but all opinions are our own.

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you dress in different ways, depending on how you feel?
  • What’s your superpower?
  • Do you think Riley is right, and that friendship can be a superpower?
  • Do you think it’s important if someone is a boy or a girl to be able to play with them?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

elana-e1484018914417-200x200ELANA K. ARNOLD is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets. 

 

image-asset-2Linda Davick is an author and illustrator with a background in design.

The first book she illustrated, 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Knopf) hit the New York Times best seller list and has sold over 200,000 copies. The first book she both wrote and illustrated I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster) won an Ezra Jack Keats honor.

Her animation work includes over 200 e-cards for Amazon and over 100 pieces of animation for Whistlefritz.

Some of her clients: Amazon.com, Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, Charlotte Mecklenburg Education Foundation, Crayola, Klutz Press, Knopf, Little Brown, Philadelphia Campaign for Greater Education, and Sesame Street.

Linda lives near a nature preserve in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

Free to be Incredible Me

Written by: Joelle-Elizabeth Retener

Illustrated by: Connor DeHaan

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English 

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Self-Expression, Gender Non-Conforming Youth, Acceptance, Family, Love, Social-Emotional Learning & Development. 

Summary: This book is SO cute!  It’s a quick read, the rhyming makes the pages turn quickly.  Manny returns from his first day of school pretty bummed, because he’s been teased for doing things “that boy’s shouldn’t do”.  Manny’s dad sees Manny’s heartache and sets about making sure Manny knows that boys can do anything.  They do their hair, have a dance party wearing bright colors, and try out different hairstyles.  Manny realizes that he can be himself and doesn’t have prove anything to anyone.  He can feel feelings, have confidence, and unlearn the negative thing society tries to push on young children in terms of gender expectations.

This book is so important.  Bookshelves are missing stories about young boys of color, and especially characters that are gender non-conforming.  Everyone needs to be seen, accepted, and loved for who they are.  Having these books that show parents and caregivers unabashedly celebrating who their children naturally are are CRUCIAL, we cannot overstate this.  This book shows how far we’ve come in the children’s literature world even in the last few years.  We do believe that other books with reticent parents have a place and are important, because that is a very real reaction that a lot of children face.  But it is just, if not even more, important that these are the books we’re reading to classrooms.  Check this book out and give it to everyone!

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever been told you couldn’t do something just because of who you are?
  • How did that feel?
  • Did someone help you find solutions to this dilemma?
  • Who helped you feel better?
  • How can you help someone that was told they couldn’t do something when you hear it?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

jer2“Hi! I am Joelle-Elizabeth Retener (she/her), a first generation Haitian-American from the DC metro area. I’m a proud graduate of Spelman College and American University, where I studied Spanish and International Studies. In my past life, I was a US diplomat and traveled the world promoting and implementing US foreign policies. I’m now taking a shot at writing kidslit while homeschooling my littles. I am passionate about promoting diversity & inclusion, and fighting for gender equality.”  She works tirelessly to ensure that all gender expansive children’s voices are heard, and that they are free to enjoy the same rights, and opportunities as their peers.  We think she rocks!

ProfileConnor DeHaan is a multifaceted designer based in upstate New York. Design has become a lifestyle for myself and progression my fuel. While Connor is away from his home studio, you can find him either cooking up some delicious plates, hanging with the pooch, and when the earth freezes over, up on the hill making some turns.

For more information on his work, to get in touch regarding employment opportunities, or to just say hello, feel free to reach out.

 

Curriculum Review: “Choose Your Own Likes” Talking About Stereotypes

Hey all!  We got the opportunity this week to review some curriculum by Jamey Fisher Perkins, which is all about stereotypes! This month’s curriculum is part of her wider “Growing Towards Justice” curriculum set.  We were given a copy of this curriculum to review free of charge, but all opinions are our own. 

The 12 page curriculum covers 6 topics: What’s a Stereotype?; What I Am Like; Free to be Me; There’s No Accounting for Taste: Standing Up for What You Like; Practicing Shifting from the General to the Specific; and Unconscious Gender Bias. We think this is a well-rounded way to look at things, and each topic is specific enough to give an in-depth look at these topics without being overwhelming.  

jacob's new dress
4 of the 6 topics listed above have corresponding activities to do with kids!  They range from poems, art projects, new ideas like being non-binary (we’re SO excited this was included!) and conversation starters.  This wide range ensures that there is something that fits with various likes and dislikes in an activity.  

Although each topic and most activities have specific resources attached to them, there is a master list compiled at the end of the curriculum.  21 children’s books, some music and poetry links, and a list of adult reading material resources for caregivers make up that list.  Having these compiled with the activist and again at the bottom is very helpful, especially for someone who would want to check out the whole stack from the library.  It’s easily copied from the bottom of the curriculum, and the hyperlinks for songs and further readings for caregivers save a lot of time!pronoun-poster-download-image-copyright-maya-gonzalez-800px

Then entire curriculum is written in a very friendly manner!  Some curriculum we have read remains boring, dry, and inaccessible if the reader is unfamiliar with academic language.  This curriculum is decidedly not like that.  We would recommend this curriculum for anyone looking to begin to dismantle the implicit biases that society, school, and the media imparts on everyone beginning in utero!  

We are very much lucky to have been offered a discount code from Jamey if you’re interested in purchasing the annual curriculum subscription and on the Raising Feminist Boys e-course.  That code is: TINY!

Check out Jamey’s work, and let us know what you learn!


Stay Connected with Jamey:

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The Prince and the Dressmaker

Written & Illustrated by: Jen Wang

For ages: Young Adults and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Gender Expression, Growing Up, Love, Family, Acceptance, Friendship.

Summary: Prince Sebastian doesn’t particularly want to get married, but his parents are desperate for him to find a mate.  All Sebastian really wants to do is blow off steam and wear fabulous dresses as a disguise while out on the town.  He comes across Frances, a talented young seamstress and hires her to live in the castle and create one of a kind looks for him.  Frances begins to accompany him out on the town and the pair become best friends.  Frances is only one of two people that know the prince likes to wear dresses.  When the prince’s alter-ego Lady Crystallina begins to be recognized, and her fashions desired, the two reach an impasse because Frances getting recognized as the creator of these dresses could also mean the cover is blown for Sebastian.  This is a fabulous graphic novel about friendship, acceptance, and personal expression.  Definitely recommended for anyone who enjoys fashion design, or who wears anything unique and might get teased for it.

Reflection Questions:

  • How would you feel if you were Frances in the story, not being recognized for her work?
  • How do you think Sebastian feels, not being able to let people know his “secret”?
  • Who are the people in your life that you trust with your secrets?
  • How are you a good friend when someone tells you a secret?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Design your own perfect outfit-what makes you feel most comfortable?  Sebastian liked wearing pants and shirts as much as he liked wearing fancy dresses, and you can too!  But what matters most is that you’re dressing the way that makes you feel most comfortable.
  • Draw your own comic!  The land that Frances and Sebastian live in is fictitious, you can imagine a new place or write about one that already exists!
  • Think about what it means to be a good friend.  What is important to you in a friend, and how can you embody those characteristics for your friends as well? If it’s helpful, you can make a list or collaborate with someone.

About the Author & Illustrator:

2477793-jen_wangJen Wang is a cartoonist, writer, and illustrator based in Los Angeles. Jen is also a co-founder and organizer for Los Angeles based comics festival Comic Arts LA.

Sugar and Snails

Written by: Sarah Tsiang

Illustrated by: Sonja Wimmer

For ages: 4-7 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Gender Stereotypes, Family, Love, Acceptance, Self-Expression.

Summary: Our story opens at a kitchen table, where two young children are sitting with their grandfather.  He recites the old rhyme about what little girls and boys are made of.  Indignantly, both children disagree with the rhyme and point out what they don’t do that’s in the rhyme.  Their grandfather begins making up new rhymes that fit the children better.  Whimsical illustrations accompany the new rhymes, involving rocks, toast, and butterfly socks.  Whales, rubber boots, and dinosaur tails! The book ends with both children in elaborate costumes, dressing up to show what they’re made of.

A fantastic book to combat stereotypes that girls are supposed to be sweet and nice, enjoying feminine dress and boys liking sports and worms!  It’s great to see that the grandfather is open to helping the kids discover what they are made of, and allowing them to be themselves.

Reflection Questions:

  • What are you made of?
  • Do you think boys and girls are made of different stuff?
  • What makes you a unique human being?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Make up your own rhyme about what you are made of!  Consider things that you love, and what makes you one of a kind as well as rhyming words.
  • Draw a picture that shows you in a costume, wearing things you are made of!  Have a gallery walk around your classroom and look at everyone’s drawings.  Are there any similarities?  What are some of the differences that you notice?
  • Everyone is unique and different, as well as similar in some ways.  Write your own biography of your life up until now.  Include information such as where you’ve lived, what you like, and what you love about your community!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

sarah tsiangSarah Yi-Mei Tsiang As a child, Sarah Tsiang dreamed about being a part-time librarian and a part-time truck driver. Though many people suggested that she work in a bookmobile, it just didn’t thrill her the way an 18-wheeler could. Eventually, she gave up that dream and decided to be the Prime Minister of Canada. Somehow, this led her to writing picture books and poetry. Sarah spends most of her days building giant snow forts, jumping in piles of leaves, and going to the splash pad at the park (adjust for season). She also writes. Sarah started writing at the age of four, mostly one-word stories comprised of her favorite words: “noodles” and “mommy.” She spent most of her time in elementary school making up stories for her friends during recess. She spent the rest of her time reading and re-reading books like Jacob Two-Two, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Indian in the Cupboard, and Where the Red Fern Grows. Sarah writes picture books, Young Adult fiction and poetry. Her picture books include A Flock of Shoes (2010), Dogs Don’t Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know (2011), The Stone Hatchlings (2012), and The Night Children (2015). Her latest picture book is Sugar and Snails (Spring 2018), a playful rendition of the old rhyme, rewritten to reflect today’s attitudes toward gender stereotypes.   She has also written a middle-grade book of non-fiction, Warriors and Wailers: 100 Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled (2012). Her YA novel for reluctant readers is the fast-paced Breathing Fire. Her two books of poetry are the Gerald Lampert Award winning Sweet Devilry and the Pat Lowther Award nominated Status Updates. Sarah and her daughter spend a lot of time at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, where they are trying to read every book in the building. Her newest little one, Isaac, is keen to start reading as soon as his eyes can focus and he figures out how his hands work. Of the hundreds of their family’s favorite picture books, a few of them are the Mole Sisters series, anything by Mo Willems, anything by Sarah Garland, Best Friends for Frances, The Story of Ferdinand, Emily’s Balloon, Dormir, moi? Jamais!, I Really Want to Eat a Child, Ish, and A Pocket Can Have a Treasure In It. Sarah loves school visits and can hold writing workshops for anyone from kindergarteners to seniors.

sonja wimmerSonja Wimmer loves painting pictures and telling stories. After studying and working some years as a graphic designer in her hometown of Munich and Brussels, she decided to pack her suitcase and move to Barcelona to study Illustration at the “Llotja” Arts and Crafts School. Since then she lives between brushes and all kinds of wonderful tales, working as freelance illustrator for publishing houses and other clients around the world. Over the last years various of her books have been awarded in the United States.