Title: When Aidan became a Brother
Author: Kyle Lukoff
Illustrator: Kaylani Juanita
Publisher: Lee & Low Books Inc., 2019
Themes: being a big brother, lgbtqia+, transgender, trans boy, family, intersectionality, transitioning, #ownvoices, pride, genders, identity
When Aidan was born everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name. His room looked like a girl’s room. And he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing.
When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life. Then Mom and Dad announce that they’re going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning–from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does “making things right” actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self. (publisher)
Why I like this book:
Lukoff’s opening is perfect for this beautiful story of transition. he has created an #ownvoices picture book that celebrates a child who understands with deep conviction that their gender identity is different from the one they were assigned at birth. There are very few books about transgender boys, so this is a welcome addition to our lgbtqia+ shelves. The reaction of the supportive parents is beautiful to see for this age group as they work with Aidan not only to be able to express himself fully as a boy, but also to be able to work through his natural brotherly fears with a new baby. Lukoff tackles some of our deeply ingrained thoughts about gender and how pervasive they are also through the inevitable discussions of the new baby’s gender.
“Are you having a boy or a girl?” asked a lady. Aidan didn’t like it when people asked if he was a boy or a girl and he hoped the baby couldn’t hear yet. He was glad when Mom just smiled and said, “I’m having a baby.”
Juanita’s illustrations are festive and colorful, and show a little boy with a flair for fashion. Aidan’s facial expressions transform from his deep sadness when he is being treated as a girl to exuberance at being able to express himself as the boy he truly is. The depiction of a supportive family of color handling these issues so lovingly is wonderful.
This is exactly the sort of picture book families with transitioning children need and other families need to read. Please add this to you school library shelves too and encourage teachers to use it and the teacher’s guide in story time.
This book is informative and celebratory without becoming didactic, and it is accompanied with a teacher’s guide available on Lee & Low’s website.
Transgender Resources GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) lists resources, organizations, and general information for transgender youth, adults, and families. The resources and organizations are categorized by their specific focus: media advocacy, policy and legislative advocacy, support for families of people who are trans, resources for trans people and their families, support services, legal services, economic empowerment, and more (https://www.glaad.org/transgender/resources). Explore these resources and organizations as part of reading When Aidan Became a Brother to find out how you can support and advocate for transgender youth in your school, community, and country. ACLU has an “LGBTQ Youth & Schools Resource Library” (https://www.aclu.org/library-lgbt-youthschools-resources-and-links) that provides general resources, information, and organizations that help educators, librarians, and administrators learn more about what they can do to make schools and
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.