Written by: Elana K. Arnold
Illustrated by: Linda Davick
For ages: 2-8 years
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.
- 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 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.
Linda 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.
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