My Dad Thinks I’m a Boy?!

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

I've followed Sophie Labelle online for a while and have some of her self-published books, so I was excited to see that Jessica Kingsley are publishing My Dad Thinks I'm a Boy?! (complete with class discussion questions at the back). This book is a great example of why I like Sophie Labelle so much. She makes things first and foremost for trans audiences; they're very useful for cis allies to learn more, but I like that she centres trans people in her work. Plus, she has a fun, accessible art style and I love her sense of humour.

Overall, this book is a great way to explain to kids what it means to be trans, and to show trans kids that they're not alone. When Stephie introduces herself, her hobbies and interests come first. She's a fun, bug-loving kid who also just happens to be trans. It's realistic too; sadly, parents don't always accept their trans children as they are. However, the fact that Stephie's mum supports her keeps it positive and reassuring.

I also enjoyed the humorous way that Stephie's dad is portrayed; she sees him as very stubborn and childish. He throws a tantrum when she tells him what she wants to dress up as for Halloween so she has to go along with wearing a "boys'" costume just to calm him down. This was a hilarious twist on the way trans kids are often portrayed by right wing media.

For anyone who read and enjoyed this book, I highly recommend looking up Sophie Labelle's other work online. Stephie and her friends are recurring characters in all her comics!
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I was very kindly send a review copy of this book for free from NetGallery, in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a well written and powerful book which showing a trans child who trying to be who they are while navigating their parents thoughts. The story is written in language that children could relate to and understand and has pictures throughout to help illustrate the story. I particularly thought the picture of Stephie going to her dads where she knows she will get called by her own name and be referred to as his son was powerful in showing how this makes Stephie feel. 

The book tells the story of Stephie who despite doctors thinking she was a boy when she was born knows that they were wrong and she is actually a girl. Stephie is smart, funny and enjoys lots of different things. Despite not liking fishing or wrestling she does so to try and make her dad happy. This is mostly because Stephie's dad thinks she is a boy called Stephen. 

I think the book did a good job of showing Stephie's feelings vs her dads lack of understanding, and would be a good book for children and adults a like to read. It would be a great addition to a class or school library to be there for children to read, either to help them understand others or to reassure any children that feel the same that what they are experiencing is okay and people wont always act how you want them to but it's important to keep being you!

I would have liked this book to finish with Stephie's dad becoming somewhat more accepting but I know that is not often the way in 'the real world' so I understand why!  

At the end of the book there are points for further discussion and a list of further reading materials which I found really useful and interesting. I think it's a really useful resource to have, especially if the topic is not something you yourself feel comfortable with.
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This is a great example of a book to introduce young children to transgender people and provide transgender children a book to help them feel less alone. I personally wish that the father hadn't been portrayed as childish in his reaction to Stephie because I fear more sensitive children who experience similar behavior from a parent might feel their worries or hurt feelings dismissed as overreaction. I know you can't cover too much in a 48-page children's book, but I will be careful which children I recommend this book to if they are being more forcefully denied their identity by an authority figure.
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My Dad Thinks I'm a Boy?! is a great book to use with kids who are confident in who they are, but feel like they have disappointed the grown-ups in their life. Also, a great book to use with siblings, classmates or friends, who might have a hard time understanding the transgender people in their life.

What I appreciate most about Labelle's book, is she doesn't shame the dad who has a hard time accepting his daughter. She leaves it open with questions and space for the very real fear all kids have about disappointing their parents.

The questions and information in the back of the book, are well considered and would support class or family discussions. A great book for a school or public library looking to build a transgender positive collection.
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A great book. It simply explains important information and empathizes with children who may not have a supportive parent.
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My Dad Thinks I’m a Boy needs to be added to classroom and school libraries across the country.

This story is told with so much tenderness, grace, and self-assuredness that it just made me want to give Stephie a virtual high five. Readers who may be experiencing circumstances that similar to Stephie’s will read this and feel safe. Honored. Heard.

As other reviewers have said, the book doesn’t have an ending that is tied up in a neat, little bow…and I’m ok with that because that is not always how life works. 

The added resources at the back are great conversation starters for readers of all ages.

(I have to say, the illustrations were off-putting…the ears and feet were eerily distracting!)

Author: Sophie Labelle
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Release Date: 2/21/20

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#netgalley #bookreviews #bookrecommendations  #picturebooks #readalouds #sophielabelle #jessicakingsleypublishers #mydadthinksimaboy
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Wonderful, kid-friendly, trans-positive story about a girl named Stephie that was born a boy named Stephen. Stephie's dad is having a hard time accepting this but she handles it in stride. Great read to help trans-children know they're not alone but also to help all children understand the challenges and to learn to be more accepting.
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This book centers the experience of a transgender child navigating the pain of a parent who won’t acknowledge their identity. Unfortunately the child, Stephie, ends up making accommodations for her father rather than the other way around. The scene where he throws a tantrum in the store over a Halloween costume is uncomfortable and there are no ramifications for his lack of support for Stephie. Stephie is a great lead but look elsewhere for stories with parents supporting their transgender children.
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Having read Nail Polish by the same author, I was very much looking forward to seeing how Sophie Labelle would build on presenting a transgender perspective of growing up in an environment where some adults don't understand or acknowledge a range of identities. As with her previous work, Sophie is so good and making clear both terms and feelings associated with being transgender. 
As a parent myself, I thought she gave a clear and gentle understanding of what it is to be trans whilst never giving up on her father who chooses to remain ignorant. Even though her father has yet to accept the fact that Stephie does not identify as Stephen, Labelle shows the reader that love is patience is there from the child who understands that her own father may be infantile in his understanding of gender. Questions and discussion points at the back could be useful but I especially enjoyed the further-reading content.
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This story is important and accessible for young kids! It doesn't neatly wrap up the issue of a parent not accepting their child's gender identity, but it rings out as an affirming voice for children out there that will need it. Stephie is a space sorceress worth cheering for!

Thanks NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I think I requested this book from NetGalley for two reasons: 1) I'm of the opinion that of course we need more diverse children's books and why not start them at a young age, and 2) My mum teaches kids (4-5 years old) and so I've always held a young children's books in a special place in my heart - and a book like this would be good to pass on to her to read in class,
This book certainly ticked the box of offering more diversity to children at a young age. The pictures are accessible, the writing is easy to understand and the story isn't complicated. It could be read to a child who hasn't learnt to read, or a child, who was learning to read, could read it themselves. Even an older child could read it if they wanted answers to questions they may have. 
The guidance questions at the back would facilitate this as well. They could guide a parent/teacher into a discussion with the child/ren about the issues raised by the book, which I think is an important aspect of a book like this. They'd allow children to ask any questions they might have about the issues raised by the book, but it would mean that any child that might relate might not feel as uncomfortable in a discussion like this.
I wish their could have been more of a resolution with the father at the end, and also some interaction with teachers/classmates, as, like I said, it could definitely be read in the setting of a classroom, so it could have been gratifying to see the child interact with their classmates. 
However, this doesn't take anything away from the book. It's still a beautifully illustrated, important book that every child should get the chance to read!
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There are a few books that I will buy for every picture book age child in my life. This one just made the cut.
Making trans awareness not just available, but understandable and NORMAL for children not only shows trans children an image of themselves, but that it is just another fact. Like the colour of your hair. It is so very, very, very necessary.
Extra points for having divorced parents, for using the word transgender, and for having an ending that is not a perfect resolution.

5 glorious stars out of 5.
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Stephie is such an understanding and mature girl. Her dad truly doesn't deserve her. I truly hope this book can help parents realize that some of the things pictured in this book such as using her dead name (birth name) and using wrong pronouns, can be really hurtful and it's not okay. I wish the book was longer and her dad accepted her for what she truly is.

Parents have to support their kids and their hobbies and not try to impose only their own ones.
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Thank you to Sophie Labelle, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and NetGalley for this e-ARC.

I'm going to start by saying: I LOVE THIS BOOK. Let me tell you why. When I first read the description, I thought the premise was great, but I was skeptical about how good it would be since I've had mixed experiences with authors trying and failing to tackle topics like this before. I was so so so pleasantly surprised. More than that, this book has wonderful representation and the illustrations are gorgeous. 

I teared up when Stephie said "I try to be patient with him. It can be hard sometimes for adults." For a 7 year old to be that aware is heartbreaking but also incredibly common. Kids shouldn't have to sensor themselves to be accepted by their parents.

This was overall a beautiful book. I think it should make its way into every elementary classroom. Kids deserve to feel seen and understood and safe. I look forward to reading more by this author and would love the opportunity to help get these into classrooms and libraries. 

This quote was at the end of the book and really spoke to me as well: 
“When a child selects a book and sees someone like themselves within its pages, they know they are not alone. It is a seemingly small gesture, to us grownups, that enables a child to feel safe and secure. This breezy and beautifully illustrated book describes gender in playful, innocent terms, allowing children the space to discover themselves and to explore their surroundings joyfully. A must for any library.” Juno Roche, writer and campaigner
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Trans positive books are critical, and I applaud the intent of sharing this character's story in a matter-of-fact, kid level manner. Discussion questions and suggested reading in the back matter are also helpful. However, I find some of the humor confusing and jarring. For example, the image of the child in the coffin because "Dad felt like his son named Stephen died" when Stephanie transitioned felt both scary and misleading.
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This is a good informational book from the perspective of a child's experience being trans and trying to communicate that to her parent.  I really liked the perspective and the helpful information at the end. However, what might make me hesitate to hand it to a child is that there is not much resolution or acceptance in the story from the father, and I would have to consider whether that might be a hurtful narrative to share, even though the main character seems to take it in stride.  But it's absolutely a valuable perspective to have represented in our library collection.
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I enjoyed the comparisons the book made with how adults act childish when they have trouble understanding things. It tackled important issues that some kids might be facing at home through a first person narrative of a child.
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The story is both simple and complex - a little girl who wants to be herself and be accepted by both parents for who she is. We meet seven year old Stephie, who shares her favorite things. She loves bugs, scary movies, spaghetti, and reading. She also shares that her father thinks she is his son named Stephen, even though she is a girl named Stephie. This is something her mother understands, but her dad struggles without throughout the entire book. He is never malicious or demeaning, and Stephie loves her dad very much. But she also wants him to understand that Stephen doesn't exist.

The message is fantastic and positive - only we get to decide who we are, that is not up to any other human on earth. I felt on the first reading that the ending was kind of abrupt, but I've reconsidered that after I read through it again and again. I was glad from the first read that the dad did not suddenly do a complete about-face and accept that Stephen was now Stephie. That is not reality for so many kids who identify as trans, and would have been a slap in the face to all of those who struggle with unaccepting families and lack of support. BUT, showing them still having a close relationship at the end, I think, shows that they are still working on understanding each other and trying to figure out how to make it work. It is clear that they love each other very much, even as they are working through this complex issue together. Stephie is remarkably patient for a seven year old in how she does things for her dad (like going fishing) even if she doesn't want to. It is a bummer that children have to take on these adult roles of being patient teachers sometimes, but she handles it with ease and part of that is due to her young age. She intuitively knows that patience is important. It makes me incredibly sad for Stephie though, that this is placed on her shoulders. She must be the adult and teach her father, and it is not fair to her. Still, Stephie is resilient and stays true to herself. She is strong because she has to be, as so many other trans children have to be.

I really like that Stephie's interests are all her own. She knows she is a girl, and likes the things that she wants to like. In this case, they are not all things that are 'stereotypical' for a young girl to like. My cis daughter loves all kinds of things that are not stereotypical - garbage trucks and super heroes, mud, collecting rocks. BUT, she also loves dressing up, lip gloss, and wearing my high heels. I think everyone would be a whole lot happier if parents didn't try to force any gender stereotypes on their kids, regardless of gender.

I read this book on my Kindle and so I unfortunately can not comment on the illustrations/color, as everything is black and white for me. I think that I would still want this as a physical copy in our personal library, as well as a the school and public libraries. This needs to be visible for all students, but especially those who understand and can feel that they are not who the world thinks they are. I have never read a children's book before with a character who is trans. Having this visible for those students who know that they are not who others think they are is so critical - especially for those who do not have a lot of support at home. These kids need to know that it is okay and that nothing is wrong with them. Just as we need adequate representation for people of all races and ethnicities, trans kids, as well as non-binary and gender-nonconforming, need to see themselves represented as well. I can't even imagine what it would be like to not see myself represented in media, and I think it would be very disheartening. This can also help give those students the right words to express themselves, especially those who know very early on that something is not quite fitting correctly in their lives. So many of my gay friends have stated that they knew they were attracted to other boys from an early age, but didn't know how to express their thoughts and feelings to the adults in their lives. It also matters that cis children be educated and aware of the fact that they will have classmates at some point who fall into a wide variety of LGBTQIA+ categories.

Aside from the story itself, the author provides a slew of discussion questions and resources for parents and educators to use. I feel like this will be incredibly effective in discussing such complexities with their children. There are also several book suggestions that I will be exploring further.

I feel like this is a good starting point for younger readers and it a good contribution to children's literature. Stephie is very matter-of-fact. She knows who she is, and she stays true to that throughout. With books like this, it will help both trans kids to know they are not alone, and allies address the subject with kiddos who are not trans.
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My Dad Thinks I'm a Boy by own voices Sophie Labelle is one of those uplifting, yet heartbreaking stories. You love it, but it hurts. And truthfully, I did expect that going in. After all, this is a book about a transgender girl whose father cannot let go of the belief that his daughter is actually his son. It's a story that I'm sure a number of trans children might have gone through, themselves. In that, I am grateful that this book exists.

The story follows Stephie who is seven years old. But her dad just can't seem to stop calling her Stephen and insist that she take part in activities he sees as typically boy-ish and wants her to enjoy just as he does. In a great many ways this book promotes self-awareness and a patience with adults that no seven year old should ever have to exhibit. Stephie admits that she knows her father does not understand and is regularly empathetic toward his difficulty to accept her for who she is.

I know this book got a bit of criticism, ultimately, for leaving the ending somewhat open-ended. It doesn't go on to portray Stephie's father developing an understanding for who his daughter is. The book doesn't show a progression in which he realizes the errors of his ways and is able to eventually become less closed-minded. Instead, it focuses on Stephie's resilience and her ability to recognize that even though her father is acting, as she says, childish, she still loves him. And I think it's fascinating, in a children's book, to see the child main character showing more maturity than her parent.

I don't personally see the way the book ended as problematic, but rather I find it to be incredibly uplifting. It's amazing what Stephie is able to do for her father and recognize within herself. It's utterly brilliant that she can portray such emotional intelligence and maturity in such a volatile and painful situation. And the thing is, I think this story is left open-ended in a way that allows anyone in a similar situation to see themselves and their story. While I hate to admit it, there are some parents out there who struggle to ever accept their child. Fortunately, there are others who do eventually see where they were wrong.

And perhaps it's just me, but I prefer to see a book that offers both possibilities to its readers, ultimately resulting in the opportunity to accept that no matter what their parent is or isn't able to accept in the end, who they are is good and okay and they will always be able to work through these hard times. It is that message that I believe Stephie sends most and sends well. I appreciate her for that.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A quick read showing not only a father's difficulty in understanding that who he thinks is his son is actually his daughter; as well as the daughter's burgeoning understanding of why her father finds it difficult.  A sweet story on the topics of understanding and patience.
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