My Dad Thinks I’m a Boy?!

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

A great book. It simply explains important information and empathizes with children who may not have a supportive parent.
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My Dad Thinks I’m a Boy needs to be added to classroom and school libraries across the country.

This story is told with so much tenderness, grace, and self-assuredness that it just made me want to give Stephie a virtual high five. Readers who may be experiencing circumstances that similar to Stephie’s will read this and feel safe. Honored. Heard.

As other reviewers have said, the book doesn’t have an ending that is tied up in a neat, little bow…and I’m ok with that because that is not always how life works. 

The added resources at the back are great conversation starters for readers of all ages.

(I have to say, the illustrations were off-putting…the ears and feet were eerily distracting!)

Author: Sophie Labelle
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Release Date: 2/21/20

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#netgalley #bookreviews #bookrecommendations  #picturebooks #readalouds #sophielabelle #jessicakingsleypublishers #mydadthinksimaboy
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Wonderful, kid-friendly, trans-positive story about a girl named Stephie that was born a boy named Stephen. Stephie's dad is having a hard time accepting this but she handles it in stride. Great read to help trans-children know they're not alone but also to help all children understand the challenges and to learn to be more accepting.
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This book centers the experience of a transgender child navigating the pain of a parent who won’t acknowledge their identity. Unfortunately the child, Stephie, ends up making accommodations for her father rather than the other way around. The scene where he throws a tantrum in the store over a Halloween costume is uncomfortable and there are no ramifications for his lack of support for Stephie. Stephie is a great lead but look elsewhere for stories with parents supporting their transgender children.
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Having read Nail Polish by the same author, I was very much looking forward to seeing how Sophie Labelle would build on presenting a transgender perspective of growing up in an environment where some adults don't understand or acknowledge a range of identities. As with her previous work, Sophie is so good and making clear both terms and feelings associated with being transgender. 
As a parent myself, I thought she gave a clear and gentle understanding of what it is to be trans whilst never giving up on her father who chooses to remain ignorant. Even though her father has yet to accept the fact that Stephie does not identify as Stephen, Labelle shows the reader that love is patience is there from the child who understands that her own father may be infantile in his understanding of gender. Questions and discussion points at the back could be useful but I especially enjoyed the further-reading content.
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This story is important and accessible for young kids! It doesn't neatly wrap up the issue of a parent not accepting their child's gender identity, but it rings out as an affirming voice for children out there that will need it. Stephie is a space sorceress worth cheering for!

Thanks NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I think I requested this book from NetGalley for two reasons: 1) I'm of the opinion that of course we need more diverse children's books and why not start them at a young age, and 2) My mum teaches kids (4-5 years old) and so I've always held a young children's books in a special place in my heart - and a book like this would be good to pass on to her to read in class,
This book certainly ticked the box of offering more diversity to children at a young age. The pictures are accessible, the writing is easy to understand and the story isn't complicated. It could be read to a child who hasn't learnt to read, or a child, who was learning to read, could read it themselves. Even an older child could read it if they wanted answers to questions they may have. 
The guidance questions at the back would facilitate this as well. They could guide a parent/teacher into a discussion with the child/ren about the issues raised by the book, which I think is an important aspect of a book like this. They'd allow children to ask any questions they might have about the issues raised by the book, but it would mean that any child that might relate might not feel as uncomfortable in a discussion like this.
I wish their could have been more of a resolution with the father at the end, and also some interaction with teachers/classmates, as, like I said, it could definitely be read in the setting of a classroom, so it could have been gratifying to see the child interact with their classmates. 
However, this doesn't take anything away from the book. It's still a beautifully illustrated, important book that every child should get the chance to read!
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There are a few books that I will buy for every picture book age child in my life. This one just made the cut.
Making trans awareness not just available, but understandable and NORMAL for children not only shows trans children an image of themselves, but that it is just another fact. Like the colour of your hair. It is so very, very, very necessary.
Extra points for having divorced parents, for using the word transgender, and for having an ending that is not a perfect resolution.

5 glorious stars out of 5.
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Stephie is such an understanding and mature girl. Her dad truly doesn't deserve her. I truly hope this book can help parents realize that some of the things pictured in this book such as using her dead name (birth name) and using wrong pronouns, can be really hurtful and it's not okay. I wish the book was longer and her dad accepted her for what she truly is.

Parents have to support their kids and their hobbies and not try to impose only their own ones.
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Thank you to Sophie Labelle, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and NetGalley for this e-ARC.

I'm going to start by saying: I LOVE THIS BOOK. Let me tell you why. When I first read the description, I thought the premise was great, but I was skeptical about how good it would be since I've had mixed experiences with authors trying and failing to tackle topics like this before. I was so so so pleasantly surprised. More than that, this book has wonderful representation and the illustrations are gorgeous. 

I teared up when Stephie said "I try to be patient with him. It can be hard sometimes for adults." For a 7 year old to be that aware is heartbreaking but also incredibly common. Kids shouldn't have to sensor themselves to be accepted by their parents.

This was overall a beautiful book. I think it should make its way into every elementary classroom. Kids deserve to feel seen and understood and safe. I look forward to reading more by this author and would love the opportunity to help get these into classrooms and libraries. 

This quote was at the end of the book and really spoke to me as well: 
“When a child selects a book and sees someone like themselves within its pages, they know they are not alone. It is a seemingly small gesture, to us grownups, that enables a child to feel safe and secure. This breezy and beautifully illustrated book describes gender in playful, innocent terms, allowing children the space to discover themselves and to explore their surroundings joyfully. A must for any library.” Juno Roche, writer and campaigner
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Trans positive books are critical, and I applaud the intent of sharing this character's story in a matter-of-fact, kid level manner. Discussion questions and suggested reading in the back matter are also helpful. However, I find some of the humor confusing and jarring. For example, the image of the child in the coffin because "Dad felt like his son named Stephen died" when Stephanie transitioned felt both scary and misleading.
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This is a good informational book from the perspective of a child's experience being trans and trying to communicate that to her parent.  I really liked the perspective and the helpful information at the end. However, what might make me hesitate to hand it to a child is that there is not much resolution or acceptance in the story from the father, and I would have to consider whether that might be a hurtful narrative to share, even though the main character seems to take it in stride.  But it's absolutely a valuable perspective to have represented in our library collection.
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I enjoyed the comparisons the book made with how adults act childish when they have trouble understanding things. It tackled important issues that some kids might be facing at home through a first person narrative of a child.
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The story is both simple and complex - a little girl who wants to be herself and be accepted by both parents for who she is. We meet seven year old Stephie, who shares her favorite things. She loves bugs, scary movies, spaghetti, and reading. She also shares that her father thinks she is his son named Stephen, even though she is a girl named Stephie. This is something her mother understands, but her dad struggles without throughout the entire book. He is never malicious or demeaning, and Stephie loves her dad very much. But she also wants him to understand that Stephen doesn't exist.

The message is fantastic and positive - only we get to decide who we are, that is not up to any other human on earth. I felt on the first reading that the ending was kind of abrupt, but I've reconsidered that after I read through it again and again. I was glad from the first read that the dad did not suddenly do a complete about-face and accept that Stephen was now Stephie. That is not reality for so many kids who identify as trans, and would have been a slap in the face to all of those who struggle with unaccepting families and lack of support. BUT, showing them still having a close relationship at the end, I think, shows that they are still working on understanding each other and trying to figure out how to make it work. It is clear that they love each other very much, even as they are working through this complex issue together. Stephie is remarkably patient for a seven year old in how she does things for her dad (like going fishing) even if she doesn't want to. It is a bummer that children have to take on these adult roles of being patient teachers sometimes, but she handles it with ease and part of that is due to her young age. She intuitively knows that patience is important. It makes me incredibly sad for Stephie though, that this is placed on her shoulders. She must be the adult and teach her father, and it is not fair to her. Still, Stephie is resilient and stays true to herself. She is strong because she has to be, as so many other trans children have to be.

I really like that Stephie's interests are all her own. She knows she is a girl, and likes the things that she wants to like. In this case, they are not all things that are 'stereotypical' for a young girl to like. My cis daughter loves all kinds of things that are not stereotypical - garbage trucks and super heroes, mud, collecting rocks. BUT, she also loves dressing up, lip gloss, and wearing my high heels. I think everyone would be a whole lot happier if parents didn't try to force any gender stereotypes on their kids, regardless of gender.

I read this book on my Kindle and so I unfortunately can not comment on the illustrations/color, as everything is black and white for me. I think that I would still want this as a physical copy in our personal library, as well as a the school and public libraries. This needs to be visible for all students, but especially those who understand and can feel that they are not who the world thinks they are. I have never read a children's book before with a character who is trans. Having this visible for those students who know that they are not who others think they are is so critical - especially for those who do not have a lot of support at home. These kids need to know that it is okay and that nothing is wrong with them. Just as we need adequate representation for people of all races and ethnicities, trans kids, as well as non-binary and gender-nonconforming, need to see themselves represented as well. I can't even imagine what it would be like to not see myself represented in media, and I think it would be very disheartening. This can also help give those students the right words to express themselves, especially those who know very early on that something is not quite fitting correctly in their lives. So many of my gay friends have stated that they knew they were attracted to other boys from an early age, but didn't know how to express their thoughts and feelings to the adults in their lives. It also matters that cis children be educated and aware of the fact that they will have classmates at some point who fall into a wide variety of LGBTQIA+ categories.

Aside from the story itself, the author provides a slew of discussion questions and resources for parents and educators to use. I feel like this will be incredibly effective in discussing such complexities with their children. There are also several book suggestions that I will be exploring further.

I feel like this is a good starting point for younger readers and it a good contribution to children's literature. Stephie is very matter-of-fact. She knows who she is, and she stays true to that throughout. With books like this, it will help both trans kids to know they are not alone, and allies address the subject with kiddos who are not trans.
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My Dad Thinks I'm a Boy by own voices Sophie Labelle is one of those uplifting, yet heartbreaking stories. You love it, but it hurts. And truthfully, I did expect that going in. After all, this is a book about a transgender girl whose father cannot let go of the belief that his daughter is actually his son. It's a story that I'm sure a number of trans children might have gone through, themselves. In that, I am grateful that this book exists.

The story follows Stephie who is seven years old. But her dad just can't seem to stop calling her Stephen and insist that she take part in activities he sees as typically boy-ish and wants her to enjoy just as he does. In a great many ways this book promotes self-awareness and a patience with adults that no seven year old should ever have to exhibit. Stephie admits that she knows her father does not understand and is regularly empathetic toward his difficulty to accept her for who she is.

I know this book got a bit of criticism, ultimately, for leaving the ending somewhat open-ended. It doesn't go on to portray Stephie's father developing an understanding for who his daughter is. The book doesn't show a progression in which he realizes the errors of his ways and is able to eventually become less closed-minded. Instead, it focuses on Stephie's resilience and her ability to recognize that even though her father is acting, as she says, childish, she still loves him. And I think it's fascinating, in a children's book, to see the child main character showing more maturity than her parent.

I don't personally see the way the book ended as problematic, but rather I find it to be incredibly uplifting. It's amazing what Stephie is able to do for her father and recognize within herself. It's utterly brilliant that she can portray such emotional intelligence and maturity in such a volatile and painful situation. And the thing is, I think this story is left open-ended in a way that allows anyone in a similar situation to see themselves and their story. While I hate to admit it, there are some parents out there who struggle to ever accept their child. Fortunately, there are others who do eventually see where they were wrong.

And perhaps it's just me, but I prefer to see a book that offers both possibilities to its readers, ultimately resulting in the opportunity to accept that no matter what their parent is or isn't able to accept in the end, who they are is good and okay and they will always be able to work through these hard times. It is that message that I believe Stephie sends most and sends well. I appreciate her for that.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A quick read showing not only a father's difficulty in understanding that who he thinks is his son is actually his daughter; as well as the daughter's burgeoning understanding of why her father finds it difficult.  A sweet story on the topics of understanding and patience.
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Simple and effective. Easy for children to understand, both concerning Stephie's transgender identity and her father's reaction. I thought it was a wonderful children's book and a great way to explain transgender experiences to both children and their parents.
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TW: misgendering

I have been following Sophia Labelle on Instagram and Facebook for quite some time (and was so sad I couldn't see her when she visited my city!) so I requested this book the moment I saw it! I have been doing my best to try to read books that will help me with my allyship and advocacy and also just to give my attention to books and stories that tend to be marginalised. I highly recommend her comic series she did on a journalist talking to the parent of a transgender kid instead of  actually talking to the kid about their experience. 

I loved this book (and for those potential readers of this review-- no I do not just highly rate books because I think the subject matter is important)! Adults frequently think they need long explanations and justifications to explain things to kids but most of the time it's unnecessary. 

I really enjoyed how matter-of-fact Stephie is about her life. She knows she's a girl-- it is just the people around her (like her Dad) that are confused. I think it is so important that Labelle included that Stephie's Dad thinks he lost a son (that he never had in the first place). I am by no means an expert on the lives of people who are transgender, but this is a narrative that is seen frequently and it needs to be exposed for how harmful it is. It is understandable for parents to be confused-- but it is not okay to throw temper tantrums about it. 

This book shows that adults do not know everything and children should not be told that adults know best. Do adults know best on a number of things such as don't run into traffic? Sure. But no one has the right to determine someone else's gender identity and showing the dad being child-like was such a brilliant way to demonstrate this.

Stephie is a girl but she is not confined to interests that are gendered as female. On the first page of the story we learn that Stephie likes bugs-- while this may seem like a small detail this sets up the idea that interests do not have to fit within gender lines and that liking a 'male' thing does not make Stephie less of a girl. 

I highly recommend readers to read the discussion questions and book suggestions at the end of this story. We all have our own biases and it is so important to think through our beliefs and how we act so that we don't make people -- especially children!-- feel like Stephie's dad does. I fully intend to read some of the books listed (and I am neither a child nor do I have any so that should not be an excuse used to not read this book and others like it). 

I really appreciate your work Sophie!
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Excellent book!  I love Sophie Labelle's art and follow her comics online, so I was super excited to see this book.  We need more books like this!!
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Stephie is 7 years old. She likes bugs, books and spaghetti. Her favorite thing to do is to stay up late and watch scary movies. Also, she's a girl formally known as a Stephen. Stephie’s dad had been mistaking her for a boy since she was born and struggles to see her as who she is or wants to be. Stephie just wants to who she sees herself to be and be loved.
I think this is a needed book today where this is a more common concern among our population. My but is that I thought the illustrations a bit too cartoony to accompany a pretty serious issue.
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