Sunday 26 July 2015

Are you a boy or are you a girl?

Written by Sarah Savage and Illustrated by Fox Fisher

Publisher: TQUAL Books
ISBN-10: 0993192505
ISBN-13: 978-0993192500

Review of digital version kindly sent to me by author, Sarah Savage (July 2015) in exchange for an honest review. 

The Book:
Are You a Boy or are You a Girl?is a story narrated by Tiny, a young child whose Dad has changed jobs, so the family have moved to a new area. Tiny is excited about having a beautiful new house with a bed built like a castle and looks forward to making new friends at school. In the story we read of Tiny's play activities- a trip to the park, dressing up as a pirate or a fairy and playing football at school. Sometimes Tiny is asked "Are you a boy or are you a girl?" 
In the new school, Tiny is bullied by a peer but thankfully the teacher and a new friend are there as a support. In the final pages, a new friend Mia says,  "Tiny are you a boy or are you a girl?" and the smiling Tiny replies ......

Book Are you a boy or are you a girl?
"I am me!"
(pdf, provided courtesy of author)
More from Missus B
Oh I do love a book that generates discussion and reflective thinking! Are You a Boy or are You a Girl?does just that- it's an excellent tool for circle time discussion.

The book is deceptively simple- written from the perspective of a child,it describes typical play activities, family interactions and social scenes that many children will relate to and understand. The narrative is uncomplicated and Tiny talks in a straight forward, factual way about play and social experiences.

Tiny loves pasta, football and dressing up.Tiny is also excited about living in a new home.But, apart from that, we don't hear about the thoughts and feelings Tiny has .
The text doesn't explain what it's like to be asked  "Are you a boy or are you a girl?" And we never know how Tiny feels or responds to that question. 

Also, Tiny doesn't share the feelings experienced when Buster bullies and says....
Book Are you a boy or are you a girl?
"Tiny is not a he. Tiny is not a she. Tiny is an it!'
(pdf provided courtesy of author)

And this is what I love about this book- its an excellent talking tool.The readers have to come to their own conclusions and consider what's happening.The story doesn't reveal whether Tiny is a boy or a girl, it's up to you to decide. The simple narrative and illustrations invite listeners to engage in meaningful discussion about gender roles, stereotypes, feelings and social behaviour.

We learn lots about the personality, interests and life roles which are the essence of who Tiny is. And we see other characters with different roles and personalities e.g. Tiny's Dad is a bus driver and likes to cook pasta dinners.... Fire Fighters visit the school and their truck is driven by a female.....When Buster shouts that girls can't play football, the thoughtful Charlie says:

"I don't think it matters who plays, as long as we're all having fun."

There's lots to consider and reflect on, and the  book includes a page of questions to stimulate discussion between you and the listeners
Book review Are you a boy or are you a girl?

Are You a Boy or are You a Girl?can open up a new type of dialogue amongst you and the children you read it with. By sharing this book, there are opportunities to  explore and consider feelings,  while discussing gender stereo types & roles. Importantly, this book can also offer support to children who may identify with the challenges faced by Tiny.

An excellent resource for teachers, parents and carers, this book fits well into the PSHE/SPHE curriculum.                                                                   

Happy Reading, 
Missus B

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