When Aidan Became A Brother (Kyle Lukoff)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When Aidan Became A Brother, written by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, a very unique story of a little boy becoming a big brother.

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. So they decorated his room in “girly” colors and gave him a girl’s name and put him in pretty dresses. But when he grew bigger, Aidan realized that he hated all those girly things; of course, so did some of the other girls too, but Aidan didn’t feel like those types of girls – he felt like another type of boy. When he told his parents, they supported him and helped him transition, and now he’s happy being a boy, and most excited to be a big brother to his little sibling-to-be. He wants to make sure that the new baby will feel welcome and loved no matter who they are. But how can he do that, especially when the world can still be such a confusing place for him? Aidan’s willing to try – he’s determined to be the best big brother he can.

What an lovely and unexpected book. While the story centers around a transgender child, the main theme is not solely about being trans, but how we view gender. Telling it from the point of view of Aidan – a young child who has already spent his childhood examining gender roles by necessity – allows readers both young and old to question along with him as he ponders why it should matter if the new baby is a boy or girl, or how it should affect how they are dressed or treated. It allows the book to have a great range of themes: it’s a new baby book, and a book about growing up trans, and a book about societal views on gender, and a book about love and family, and a book about how there are lots of ways to be a boy or a girl, and more. It’s fresh and striking and can open up opportunities for many discussions. The artwork is the cherry on top, using bright patterns and expressive faces to create emotion and warmth. Even the author’s note is a touching reminder that by being true to ourselves, we make the world brighter and more wonderful. The length was great, and JJ loved it too. Absolutely superb, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity (Theresa Thorn)

Hello, friends – we’re back! And with a book that’s perfect for our first Pride Month review: It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity, written by Theresa Thorn and illustrated by Noah Grigni.

Meet Ruthie. She is a transgender girl; when she was little, everyone thought she was a boy, but when she was old enough to speak for herself, she let everyone know the truth. Her brother Xavier is a cisgender boy; when he was little, everyone thought he was a boy, and they were right! They also have friends like Alex – who is both a boy and a girl – and JJ, who doesn’t feel like either. Alex and JJ are non-binary, and just like there are lots of ways to be a boy or a girl, there are lots of ways to be non-binary as well! No matter what gender someone identifies as, the most important thing is that they are loved, supported, and free to be themselves – doesn’t it feel good to be yourself?

LOVE. Taking a concept that is often overwrought or misconstrued and simplifying it down to its core elements, this child-friendly look at the spectrum of gender covers a lot of ground without ever feeling overwhelming or confusing. Especially wonderful is the way the illustrations explore further elements, such as diversity, intersectionality and non-gendered clothing and play, giving kids and parents even more avenues to discuss all the wonderful ways we can be different. The text can feel a little repetitive in areas, but it’s not out of place with such important and complex topic, and the ultimate lesson is about loving yourself and feeling free to express who you are in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. JJ especially enjoyed the rich colors of the art (and that she shared a name with one of the characters). The length was great, the wealth of backmatter encourages further education, and we loved it. A great way to explore questions about gender as a family, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Jacob’s New Dress (Sarah & Ian Hoffman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Jacob’s New Dress, written by Sarah and Ian Hoffman and illustrated by Chris Case, the story of a boy and his parents making an important wardrobe decision.

When it’s dress-up time at Jacob’s school, he and his friend Emily always go straight for the dresses. His classmate Christopher is irritated, and demands to know why Jacob won’t wear any of the “boy costumes”. Later, Jacob tells his mother what happened and she is sympathetic, assuring him that boys ARE allowed to wear dresses. She happily helps him put on his Halloween dress, but when Jacob asks to wear it to school, she hesitates – dresses have been an at-home activity so far. But Jacob is determined, and he uses a towel to create a “dress-thing” to wear. His parents reluctantly allow it, and Jacob is delighted to show off his creation… until Christopher steals the outfit and mocks it. Jacob heads home crying, and asks his mother once more for a real dress; this time, she agrees. She and Jacob make a dress together, and while Jacob’s dad is concerned, he supports his son’s garment. And when Christopher inevitably teases him again, Jacob decides to ignore the bully’s taunts – his dress is his armor and his wings, and he’s happy to finally be comfortable in his own clothes.

Wonderful. Young bookworms are given a lesson in why little boys may like to wear “feminine” clothes, and that this is both allowed and okay; the given explanations of comfort and ever-changing attitudes towards clothing and gender are good starting points. Adult readers will identify with Jacob’s parents, who want their son to have the freedom to express himself but also worry about how the world will treat him – it’s beautifully nuanced and really hits home. The sunny illustrations keep things mostly light, and the length is just fine. JJ and I both enjoyed it – a wonderful lesson for both kids and parents about gender nonconformity, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Pink Is For Boys (Robb Pearlman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Pink Is For Boys, written by Robb Pearlman and illustrated by Eda Kaban, a clever color book that also challenges the notion of gender-exclusive colors.

Pink is for boys AND girls. Blue is for girls AND boys. And orange, green, brown, purple? Both boys and girls can enjoy these too! Each page introduces the reader to a new color of the rainbow, then shows how boys and girls both enjoying it together, such as pink bow ties and dresses for a rollicking dance party, a blue baseball uniform for a co-ed team, red soapbox cars and purple unicorns (because UNICORNS). Because the truth is that all colors are for everyone, everywhere to share – everyone loves a rainbow.

Awesome! It’s always wonderful to see books that challenge gender norms and encourage kids to enjoy whatever colors or hobbies make them happy. And this one does a pretty wonderful job, showing not only boys and girls, but boys and girls of all skintones, shapes, and sizes participating in the fun. The illustrations are appropriately bursting with color, and filled with vivid, energetic scenes that have a carefree attitude fitting to the message. The length is great, and JJ loved both the colors and the children enjoying them. A great way to teach little ones that color is beautiful, especially when it lets you be yourself, express who you are, and enjoy the things you love to do. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Feminist Baby (Loryn Brantz)


Hello, friends! Today’s book is Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz, a simple and fun board book that celebrates a delightfully rambunctious baby who is simply not interested in conforming to gender roles or stereotypes.

Told in simple rhyming couplets, readers are introduced to Feminist Baby, a smart, fierce, and self-possessed infant. Feminist Baby likes pink AND blue, she likes to play with dolls and cars, and she wears whatever she likes and feels comfortable in, regardless of others’ opinions. She is unashamedly smart, joyfully cacophonous, and okay, yes, WILL occasionally throw up on you (she is a baby, after all). Most importantly, Feminist Baby can and will be whoever and whatever she wants to be, and has the freedom and the right to chase all her dreams.

What a great little board book! Fans of Brantz’s will recognize Feminist Baby as a popular character from her hilarious webcomics, and she translates the unapologetically “woke” infant into kidlit-format extremely well. The illustrations are colorful, fun, and filled with energy, and the length is perfect for even the littlest bookworms. Best of all, the message is a universal one that little girls and boys all deserve to learn at the earliest stages: you should be free to be who you are, regardless of both your gender and the expectations that people place upon you because of it. JJ and I both loved it; it’s a wonderful book for all little readers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!