“The day before yesterday, when I wrote about Flatworld, there was a reason I didn’t say anything about the day, which was that when I woke up, I couldn’t move at all.” page 43
Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker.
Viking, Penguin Random House, New York, 2017.
MG science fiction, 283 pages.
Lexile: 940L .
AR Level: not yet leveled
Felix is your average kid, trying to do enough school work to get by, dreaming about his crush, drawing in class, and trying to avoid the school bully. However, he’s also a very special kid, because at three years old, he was fused with an alien from the fourth dimension. With Zyx inside of him, Felix has a lot of disadvantages, and a few advantages, that most kids don’t. But the biggest problem is the Procedure, which is designed to finally separate them but might also kill them both. And it’s happening in 29 days.
This book had a great tagline: “It’s what’s inside that counts… and what’s inside Felix is an alien.” Also, the cover is fabulous, simply presenting the style and major problem of this stand-alone book.
“But that was what was supposed to happen, so Sapphire didn’t mind. Sapphire had already accepted everything that would ever happen to her.” page 6
The Answer, written by Rebecca Sugar, illustrated by Elle Michalka and Tiffany Ford.
Cartoon Network Books imprint, Penguin Random House, New York, 2016.
Fantasy picture book, 30 pages.
Not yet leveled.
This is the story of Sapphire, a wise gem who knows the future, and Ruby, a brave little gem who fights to the end. Sapphire would say it’s a short and sad story, but Ruby disagrees.
While the Steven Universe TV show’s mythology and storyline bring some hefty worldbuilding to this picture book, you can read and enjoy it with no prior knowledge. We rarely watch TV, so I learned about the show from writing this review.
My thoughts about this book were complicated. It has great promise but falters in some of the execution.
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten.
Magination Press, American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., 2014.
Informative fiction, 36 pages.
The story of Pridefest presented through a parade for family discussion.
This was one of the picture books Husband bought that I mentioned before. I struggled reviewing it since my feelings are mixed. While characters of color are included in this book, it struck me that all the couples included seemed to be either white, or of mixed race. None of the families had two adults of color.
“The word man hit like a pile of rocks falling on George’s skull. It was a hundred times worse than boy, and she couldn’t breathe.” page 16
George by Alex Gino.
George loves Charlotte’s Web more than anyone in her class, maybe even her school. She can’t wait to be Charlotte in the 4th grade play. There’s only one problem – to the world, she looks like a boy, and Charlotte is a girl’s part. But George is also holding in a big secret… she’s really a girl.
This book has been getting a LOT of buzz in the book blogging world, particularly the diverse corner of it. Let’s face it, there aren’t many books in general addressing the transgender experience, and I cannot think of any other fiction work for middle graders on this topic. There are a few picture books, but the majority of works are aimed at teens and YA audiences, which is a shame, because many (not all) transgender or intersex people are dealing with this from a much younger age.
“The boundaries of gender, I was taught, were unmovable, like the glistening white rocks that surrounded Grandma’s crawfish ponds.” page 77
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More by Janet Mock.
Atria, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2014.
Memoir, 263 pages including acknowledgements.
I’d seen this book recommended multiple places before I finally bought it. The tagline says “You will be changed by this book” and I have to say, that is entirely accurate. Janet Mock is diverse and disadvantaged in so many ways – part Hawaiian, part African-American, transgender, from impoverished circumstances, a former sex worker, abused and traumatized as a child. Yet out of this mix she has formed something gorgeous.
THE non-fiction picture book for discussing gender with kids from age three up.
Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee, illustrated by Naomi Bardoff.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Philadelphia, PA, 2017. (First pub in the UK, London.)
Informative non-fiction picture book, 30 pages.
Not yet leveled. (I would read it aloud or rate it at about a third grade level due to difficult words like assigned, expression, identity.)
This simple picture book is a child’s first guide to gender identity, whether trans or cis or in-between!
As we prepared for the first Pridefest celebration with kids in tow, Husband ordered a bunch of books to read with them. Some were (unbeknownst to him) straight off my wishlist, while others, like this delightful guide to gender, were new to me.