When Aidan Became a Brother

by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. As Aidan got bigger, he knew... read more

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. As Aidan got bigger, he knew he wasn’t. “It was hard to tell his parents … but it was harder not to.” Following the news that he’s going to become a big brother, Aidan helps his parents choose baby clothing (seahorses or penguins?), paint the nursery (sky blue with clouds), and consider names. Buoyant illustrations show that Aidan’s own clothing choices range from dinosaur t-shirts to bowties, baseball hat to head wrap, shorts to frilly pinafore, because that’s the kind of boy he is. Aidan doesn’t like when people ask if his mom is having a boy or a girl (“I’m having a baby,” his mom replies). When he’s worried about being a good big brother, his mom reminds him that they didn’t know everything when Aidan was born, but he helped them learn. “You taught us how important it is to love someone for exactly who they are.” Aidan is mixed race (his mom looks Black, his dad Asian) in art full of playfulness (the clothing patterns!) and abundant warmth. A story offering opportunities to reflect and discuss beautifully affirms gender identity as a matter of internal understanding and self-knowledge rather than an assignment based on physical appearance, and shows gender expression as open and expansive rather than culturally proscribed. (Ages 3-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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