Jacob's New Dress

October 21, 2018
Subheader: 

100% terrific.

That is such an awesome, empowering ending! It's so realistic, because if you have somebody bothering you about that kind of thing, they're not going to magically transform their minds. Maybe in the future, Christopher will come to terms with it. Maybe he won't. But the important thing is that Jacob understands that it's not Christopher's choice what he wears. It's up to Jacob. It's his body, and his clothes. He's proud of the dress that he and his mother made together.

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Message: 

Anybody can wear any clothes that they want. Things are not reserved for people by gender.

Everyone Poops

October 19, 2018
Subheader: 

Surprisingly boring.

I am attempting to not encourage that sort of humor in my children. I'm not trying to discourage it, but I'm also trying to make sure that they're not ashamed of the fact that they poop. I guess if a child had a shameful association with defecation, maybe this would be a useful book to them. It's very factual.

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Message: 

Everyone poops.

How Babies are Made

October 17, 2018
Subheader: 

If it mentioned cesareans, it would be near perfect.

It's not a perfect book, but it's a great foundation. And the illustration style, where it can be very detailed in some parts of images, and quite abstract in others, works very well for the topic. It's a nice contrast to the weirdly cartoony images and metaphors of "Where Did I Come From?" There are no descriptions of how anything feels, just a factual recounting of events.

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Message: 

The basic details of human reproduction.

10,000 Dresses

October 15, 2018
Subheader: 

Good message, spotty execution.

It may be unfortunate that it needs to be more obvious, but I think that it's important that Laurel be explicitly recognized as somebody who is doing the right thing and not just kind of be assumed to be doing the right thing because she's at the end of the book.

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Message: 

Sometimes a person who has the body of a boy feels like she is a girl instead. Or, everyone should be accepted for who they are inside.

Introducing Teddy

October 13, 2018
Subheader: 

Good message, lackluster execution.

It's cute, but there's not a lot to it. I guess the subtitle, "A gentle story about gender and friendship," is a good description. Gentle, slow-paced, and brief.

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Message: 

It's okay to express the gender that you feel, even if that gender is not the way you externally appear.

Finding Santa: The Adventure of Greedy Elf

October 11, 2018
Subheader: 

Good try, but it needs more work.

I hope this doesn't discourage the author from being creative. She's clearly trying hard to make a labor of love, in contrast to the many books published by some publishing houses that just seem to be churned out with no care given to their quality. In our culture with our obsession with individuality and standing on our own, it can be hard to see that we need others' help, and it can be hard to let go of part of a creative vision and allow others to add input.

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Message: 

Elves can be mean, too.

Five Minutes' Peace

October 9, 2018
Subheader: 

Good for kids and parents, too.

I think that any mother of small children can identify with loving your children and wanting to be with them, but needing a break now and then. Of course, your children just want to be with you, because they love you, and you're the most entertaining thing in their lives. They want to read to you, and give you presents, but that's not what you need. You need "me time."

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Message: 

Although parents love their children, sometimes they need breaks.

My Body Belongs to Me

October 7, 2018
Subheader: 

Body autonomy for the win.

It has a really terrific message. I think it's very well executed. The artwork is decent. I mean, it's not going to win any awards, but it's self-consistent and clear what's going on in the pictures. The ambiguity in the child's gender is great, and he's also depicted as biracial. I love how it stresses that if someone touches you inappropriately, it's not your fault.

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Message: 

If somebody touches you inappropriately, it's not your fault. Tell someone you trust.

Death is Stupid

October 5, 2018
Subheader: 

Death is stupid. This book is not.

I'd have absolutely no problem reading this to my child if they were dealing with death. I probably wouldn't spring it on them out of nowhere, but I think it would be very helpful to children who had a loved one pass away, and help the parents open up conversation with the child about it.

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Message: 

Death is stupid, and here are some ways of dealing with it.

What Makes a Baby

October 3, 2018
Subheader: 

So determined to be inclusive that it forgets to be accurate or useful.

It's just so bizarre, the things that the author decides to include and the things that they decide to leave out. It's not very useful if all it does is tackle the easy part. If I bought this book hoping that it would help me explain sex to my children, I would be sorely disappointed. Because it does not do that. It provides an extremely brief overview of the biological components of making babies, and that's it. I respect their attempt to be inclusive of all genders, but their execution leads to distortion and confusion of statistically relevant facts.

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Message: 

Something something babies?

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