FICTION

A Boy Like You

Sleeping Bear. Jul. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781534110465.
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PreS-Gr 2–Short motivational messages speak directly to young boys: “You are the only YOU there is. And the world needs a boy like you.” Some tips on being a great teammate are shared, like “Play hard, but play fair” and “Say ‘Nice goal!’ and ‘Good try!’ Don’t say ‘You throw like a girl.’ Ever.” Moving beyond the sports field, boys are encouraged to be community-minded, curious, and compassionate. The advice also rebukes stereotypes with such truisms as “You can’t be brave without first being afraid” and “Cry. This shows you’re strong.” In Harren’s realistic and nuanced artwork, a young boy demonstrates daily acts of kindness, like eating lunch with a new classmate, helping his younger sister tie her shoelaces, and holding the door open for a woman laden with shopping bags. An author’s endnote elaborates on the “many ways to be strong.”
VERDICT A strong offering that models pro-social behavior and helps disrupt unhealthy stereotypes about boyhood and masculinity. Pair with Paris and Jason Rosenthal’s Dear Boy

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