My Dad Thinks I’m a Boy?!

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

What a lovely book! I read this with Sophie (aged 6) and Jack (aged 10), who are both cisgender children (cisgender is a term for people who's gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth). I felt the story might be a bit young for Jack, but he enjoyed it and had a lot of questions. 

The first half of the book is told from Stephie's point of view; as she explains her frustrations of having a dad who does not understand that although she was born with a body that looks like a boy's, she is in fact a girl. It upsets her that her dad insists on calling her by a boy's name and tries to get her to do things that he considers activities for boys, things that Stephie doesn't enjoy. Like children often are, she's very thoughtful of her dad's feelings, but we all feel quite sad for Stephie having to deal with this. I particularly like how the author emphasizes that nobody, not even a parent gets to decide who a child is but themselves. 

The second half of the book is made up of questions for further discussion, aimed at teachers and educators and there are suggestions for similar books. We went through quite a few of the questions, which prompted a really productive conversation between myself and the children. I think this book is so important and I would love to see it available in schools and libraries. Trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming children need and deserve to feel seen and represented and it's so important for cis gendered children to be educated.

Thank you very much to Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Sophie Labelle and Netgalley for an E-ARC of this book.
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My Dad Thinks I'm a Boy?! by Sophie Labelle is a book I was really excited to read. In my effort to have a very inclusive home library, I was excited to read my first trans positive children's book. I wasn't too excited with the result though. The description explained it to be amusing, powerful and uplifting, but for the most part, I felt more sad than amused for Stephie. I'm glad she has one parent that accepts her, but the struggle to keep her father - who insists that she is a boy - happy is more sad than amusing to me. There is no happy ending - which I know is a reality of many trans people in regards to their family - and there is also nothing that shows that her father is trying to be more understanding, only that he's trying to force his ideas onto her. The only reason I gave it three stars is that Stephie is shown to prevail and stick to her image of herself, which encourages young readers to do the same. 

I like that at the end of the book there are questions to encourage discussion with your children and I will also try the books that are mentioned there as well. But this one did not quite meet the mark for me.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

'My Dad thinks I'm a boy named Stephen who likes wrestling and fishing. But that's what my Dad likes.' Stephie is 7 years old. She likes bugs, books and spaghetti. Also, she's a girl... which should be pretty easy to understand, right? Well, not for her Dad! He's been mistaking her for a boy since she was born and struggles to see her for who she is.

This powerful and uplifting comic book for primary age children and their families humorously portrays a situation that is often too common, where a trans child is forced to negotiate between their true self and their parents' love. With amusing illustrations and a useful guide for adults, it's the perfect book to help show children that no one else than ourselves gets to decide who we are.

This is a smart, well-written story that kids would like as well as adults - kids, especially, need to know that if they or their friends or classmates feel this way they are not, well, freaks,  It is normal, it is healthy and if they can accept it, perhaps their parents can as well. (Yes, getting preachy!) I didn't like that they just glossed over the parent's divorce as it made me wonder if this is why they divorced. I know that divorce is normal, but it didn't go into who Stephanie lived with and if this was part of it. Perhaps divorce "is the norm"now, but that could have been addressed. in some way.

This book should be in everyone's library ... I am not going to knock a star off for my divorce questions as it is an amazing book. (BTW, if kids need an example to follow, they need to google Charlize Theron and her daughter Jackson and how she is parenting that way!)  		As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by Millennials on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈		
			
NOTE: I STILL cannot link this review to LinkedIn - there is something wrong with the linking/programming and it will not happen. 	

Here is a link to Charlize Theron articles:

https://www.bravotv.com/personal-space/charlize-theron-how-she-knew-child-jackson-transgender

https://www.bravotv.com/personal-space/charlize-theron-how-she-knew-child-jackson-transgender
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Possibly trans positive in theory and attempt, but not via the delivery, sorry. 

I'm not sure that the right message is being broadcast in this book, and no, I don't mean that the child isn't trans or that a trans child isn't being accepted or believed. What I mean is that there are images in the book, and the 'doctor who got it wrong' is portrayed as a guy, and the 'parent who doesn't believe/accept' his trans child is a guy. Not really that positive a portrayal. And, the child seemingly lives with the female parent who accepts her, and visits the one that doesn't. 

I think the message that the author is trying to convey got lost in what I picked up from the tale, as mentioned above. I'd have liked to see a child in a household where perhaps a/the parents didn't quite understand, but made an attempt to educate themselves. This gives, unintentionally, I am sure, a message that a female parent/adult might be more receptive to a trans child. 

I think the theory is right, the spirit of trying to educate others - kids, teens, adults and the elderly - is good, but I'm not sure that it's delivered correctly.

ARC courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley for my reading pleasure.
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I am still uncertain about the term trans, but in this books case, I believe it implies a child with ambiguous sexual characteristics at birth. I think it's best to allow people to determine what gender they are,  The father in the story is awfully childish compared to his sympathetic daughter, who he insists is his son. It's a good story about acceptance. of a child for who they are.
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I love that this book sends a positive message to children that it's okay to be themselves. It also brings up further topics for discussion, so even if they are not a transgender child, they can be accepting of those who are. 

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The world needs more books like this that help show children it’s okay to be true to themselves!

The illustrations are decently done. The tone of the book is very accurate in terms of how many kids who are different can end up feeling about the comments that one or more parents make about them. 

The author shows children how to take a mature approach, even when they don’t get their preferred happy ending. Of course, it’s going to be difficult for the majority of young children to adopt an approach that’s more emotionally mature and compassionate than their parent’s (or parents’). Despite this, it’s definitely a good lesson to teach. 

About half the book is the story. The other half contains classroom questions and ads for other transgender positive books for kids. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
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My Dad Thinks I’m a Boy?!: A Trans Positive Children's Book by Sophie Labelle. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Children's Fiction. Publication date: 21 February 2020. 5 Stars.

An colorful open-ended story that is cute, endearing and cozily frank about a transgender youth and her parents’ attitudes about her gender identity. Highly recommend!

Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing this ebook for review.
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The thing I love most about this book is how it doesn't have a happy ending. Stephie's dad still thinks she's Stephen, and Stephie is frustrated but ultimately very understanding. It models how children can be right about themselves and still treat the wrong adults in their lives with love.  My only hesitance here is that it is a lot to ask of any child that they become the mature adult in the situation, as Stephie does. Still, it's great to have a role model for how it could be done.
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This is such an important book, While it’s designed as a children’s book, I certainly think it could benefit the adults of the world that are struggling with the concept of trans without it being from the perspective of someone they know personally.
It’s beautifully illustrated and not only makes its message clear, it gives options for extended reading and thought provoking questions that allow the reader to empathise.
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