Written by: Kyle Lukoff
Illustrated by: Kaylani Juanita
For ages: 4 years and up
Topics Covered: BIPOC Protagonists, 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:
Kyle 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.”
Kaylani 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.