Welcome to the monthly children’s book review feature with a focus on diverse books here at Bird Meets Worm! My team of reviewers—Cara Chow, Joan Charles, Sharon Calle—and I are so excited to be championing books celebrating everything from gender diversity, people of color, the LGBTQ community to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, people with disabilities and developmental challenges to controversial topics, unique family situations and anything and everything I did not include. It is to say we take a rightfully board view of diversity! We aim to shine a light on books that bring both familiar experiences to those who do not often see themselves represented in books and new experiences to those looking to expand their worldview. Here at Bird Meets Worm we believe in the power of story to build empathy and thus a better world for you and me and everyone. Look for a new review on the second Wednesday of every month.
By Lesléa Newman • Illustrated By Maria Mola
Picture book (ages 4-8) • 32 pages
Published by Lee & Low Books • 2017
Sparkle Boy is a sweet sibling story about respect and the freedom to be yourself, both within your own family and well as out in the world.
Sparkle Boy is Casey, a little brother who like all little siblings, is interested in everything his older sister, Jessie, does and wears. Especially all her shimmery, glittery, sparkly clothes and accessories! But Jessie is sure that these things are just for girls, even though all the grown-ups in her family assure her that Casey can wear whatever he likes and that it won’t hurt anyone. That is, until she finds herself having to choose whether or not to stand up for her little brother and his freedom to be himself while out on a visit to the library.
Mola’s muted palette in Sparkle Boy makes the subject very accessible, and her art is accented with super fun, sparkly touches, including spot glitter on the cover. The smart juxtaposition of Casey’s shimmery skirt, nails and bracelet with his toy trucks and his red train t-shirt visually reinforce the positive message that our individual interests can cover more than just what is considered traditional for our individual genders.
All in all, a wonderful read that will leave you feeling shimmery, glittery, sparkly inside!
Buy this book:
Barnes & Noble
Reviewed by: Jane Smith