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Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?

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'Are you a Boy or are you a Girl?' is unlike any kind of children's book you've seen before. With your help, we can talk gender creatively and with confidence, and assist parents and teachers the world over. What makes this book new is that it leaves it up to the reader to decide the gender of the main character. It's a book that includes all forms of gender expression, and it allows parents and children to begin to break down the barriers of gender and to talk about what different stereotypes and roles mean to them.

28 pages, Paperback

First published February 14, 2015

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Sarah Savage

4 books11 followers

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5 stars
36 (30%)
4 stars
36 (30%)
3 stars
36 (30%)
2 stars
8 (6%)
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3 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,487 reviews843 followers
October 24, 2022

“My name is Tiny and this is my family.”

The illustrations are sweet, line-drawings, seemingly coloured with crayons, obviously intended to look childish. Dad has brown hair and sideburns, Mum has red ponytails, younger sister Fiona has long wavy blond hair with a red bow, and the baby is in a onesie.

Tiny has a kind of red cropped mullet and is wearing a tee shirt, shorts, and bright red boots. Everybody has huge smiles!

Tiny happily shows us around their new house, goes to school, plays football (soccer in America), draws, plays dress-ups, and has a happy life in general.

Sister Fiona asks him “Are you a boy or are you a girl today?”

Tiny doesn't answer, but later, Tiny dresses as a butterfly and Fiona dresses up as a cowboy. All goes well until Tiny is confronted at school by a boy who looks like a bully.

“A boy shouts ‘Tiny what a silly name. I can't tell if it’s a girl or a boy.’ My new teacher says, ‘Buster, that’s rude. Why does it matter if they are a boy or a girl?’”

I did find the use of ‘they’ a little awkward, but the book as a whole will be a valuable addition to school libraries and children’s literature in general to help kids understand that not all kids are the same.

At the end, there is a picture of Tiny’s smiling face with some questions for kids (and adults!) to ask themselves.

 photo Tiny-boy or girl_zpszlilvry2.jpg
"Would you like to play with Tiny?"

There’s a lot more in this little book, and I thank the author for writing it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for a preview copy.
Profile Image for Suz.
1,158 reviews606 followers
September 21, 2017
I was impressed with this book. As always, this Goodreads community has added to my repertoire - again, coming up with books I'd not have known about otherwise. This is what it's all about! It makes us address issues that we possibly wouldn't address otherwise.

The conversation is worth having, though one that I have not had personally, as not everyone fits the same mould. What is normal?!

This book is written and illustrated by the people that have lived the life (I love that we can see who collaborated and know their story), and added are excellent resources for further information. I started the conversation with my kids and work colleagues. I think it's worthwhile, and interesting to see what everyone thinks.

I like that this story with its amazing and original illustrations, is focusing on the individual and not the gender, but I do think that at school and in the playground, young kids will always want to know if their friend or class mate is a boy or a girl, it's in their young minds just to 'need to know'. Hopefully in their inquisitiveness they will be sensitive. But worthwhile is the theme that this story is bringing to the fore. I hope it does open up minds.
Profile Image for Théo d'Or .
385 reviews184 followers
June 2, 2023
[ intro ]

- So, do you like boys, or do you like girls ?

- Oh, hum...I mean... uh yes ?

[ verse 1 ]

When my friends ask me about my sexuality
I choke up and joke that the answer's not easy

Like I'm watching a Disney movie and the couple gets it on
But who should I look at, is it Shang or Mulan ?

I like boys and girls but I still don't know why I couldn't get either one if I really try

I'm switching my preference like an on and off switch
If I had a dime for every crush I've had, I'd be rich.

[ chorus ]

Like boy bi

Girl, hi

New guy

I'm bi ?

I cry every time I try to decide.

[ verse 2 ]

I guess you're right,

I am bi just without the sexual
I am too scared to date so I've just been by myself

Like I'm watching a Disney movie and I slowly start to sweat.

Is it Jasmine's dancing or Aladdin's open vest ?

Oh, it sucks sometimes to be right in the in - between

I am too gay for girls, too straight to be
a drag queen

I'm just playing, I'm just saying, I'd like to be clear

I don't know what the hell is going on here

[ bridge ]

And love can be hard
For someone who doesn't know what they want

I'm missing a part
For all of my life got a hole in my heart

And love could be
A winning game to those who are
straight but
I'm perfectly complete.

I'm bi ? I cry every time I try to decide.
Profile Image for Laura.
2,766 reviews82 followers
February 7, 2017
Tiny, the main character of this picture book asks the question "What does it mean to be a boy or a girl? I like eating cakes, playing football, dressing up and watching the stars"

The the bully, who hated the idea what he could not pin point what gender Tiny was, realizes that he likes those things too.

Why is it important to write a book about a child who does not fit the norms of what society deems to be for gender? Why do we need a book that says it is OK to pretend to feel like what a girl feels like one day and a boy feels like the next? Why is it that society feels that we all have to fit in either the boy or girl slot?

Sometimes it takes a picture book to tell us that it is ok to just be ourselves. This is such an important message for kids, who often feel they don't fit in. It is important to be represented. It is important to hear a positive voice.

Great book for that. I am so glad this book exists.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
Profile Image for pi.
215 reviews42 followers
February 7, 2017
This a short and beautiful picture book that defies gender roles and stereotypes, and may help children and young readers understand trans* identities.

We need more books like this one, own voices books with positive representation that tell kids they are valid.

*I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jeimy.
4,733 reviews32 followers
January 19, 2018
Five stars to this book that allows the reader to come to their own conclusion. Special props to the teacher who not only protects Tiny from a bully, but also uses the singular they to refer to Tiny.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,297 reviews53 followers
February 15, 2020
I appreciate that this book is co-authored by two Actual Trans People, but it feels a little clunky (I also don't love the illustrations).

Profile Image for Lindsey Lewis.
763 reviews15 followers
February 26, 2021
Tiny loves to dress up and play, and is new at school. However, some of the kids can't decide if Tiny is a boy or a girl and are mean to Tiny. This is a book with an important lesson about gender diversity and I don't see a lot of non-binary characters. However, I was not a fan of the art style and I felt like the topic of bullying was a bit brushed over.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not compensated in any other fashion for the review and the opinions reflected below are entirely my own. Special thanks to the publisher and author for providing the copy.
Profile Image for Saturniidead ★.
155 reviews18 followers
September 8, 2022
Content warnings are listed at the end of my review!

This book is all over the place. I take it from the title and only lesson it displays is the goal is to help people question their assumptions of gender for others, and to not worry about gendering others, but through the execution it’s very unclear. There’s a lot of focus on Tiny and games they play with their family and peers, rather than the title’s advertised question, which takes the back burner. Really, there’s not a lot to get here that hasn’t already been done better elsewhere. It’s not bad as much as it is very bland.

We follow Tiny, a gender ambiguous child, and Tiny’s family moving to a new home and starting school, a massively common theme among young trans literature. We learn about Tiny’s hobbies favorite things, and family, followed by Tiny starting school. A classmate keeps heckling Tiny about their gender and what it is, and the teacher interjects, the bully eventually realizing he and Tiny have common interests. Tiny points out how sports and firefighting isn’t just for boys, and shows there’s “a lady driving the fire engine!” I think this muddies the point a bit about how assuming someone’s gender isn’t necessary, as Tiny points to someone with long hair calling this person "lady", and the importance of self identification- an easy fix would be the firefighter introducing herself and explaining to the kids that she also firefights as a woman.

Readability: ★★★☆☆, It’s ok. There's just not a lot to get invested in because the story is so basic.

Entertainment: ★☆☆☆☆, If you are captivated by Tiny, you’ll love this book. If you’re not Tiny’s biggest fan, I’m not so sure. It’s geared towards little kids, Tiny tells all about playing dress up games with others, but really there’s not a story. It’s mostly a Tiny autobiography. The art is slightly uncanny, something about it reminds me of Simms Taback and the unsettling nature of his illustrations!

Audience: Young kids. It’s a very short and vague introduction to gender stereotypes and assumptions, so I don’t even know if I can call it an introduction. As I said, this just isn’t bringing a lot to the table that hasn’t been presented in better ways. You can use it in tandem with other books but alone, it’s pretty weak.

Content Warnings: bullying, misogyny, transphobia
Profile Image for Gabriela.
810 reviews66 followers
May 24, 2017
This little book is a great tool for assisting parents and educators about gender equality and differences. It will certainly spark some great discussions among bigger children, I expect it is best for kindergarten age. The illustrations are a bit sketchy, though it could be due to my ARC copy. Nevertheless, the drawings are able to highlight and show the essence of the book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Andrea Lorenz.
1,079 reviews21 followers
March 21, 2017
It's Tiny's first day at new school. They hope to make some friends, but one of Tiny's classmates isn't sure if Tiny is a girl or a boy and won't leave Tiny alone. Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl? is a very easy introduction to gender identity. Tiny is gender neutral in this story and deals well with situations at home and at school where their gender is called into question. I wanted the adults in the book to have a bigger role in this, especially the teacher who says "Why does it matter if they are a boy or girl?" but never follows up. Tiny is able to give answers on their own, but adults should also be good models of good behavior. I did like this - the pictures are cute, reminiscent of Gail Gibbons, and the story is the story of a normal kid. Though I would have liked more back matter with information on pronouns and strategies for addressing the titular question, I feel like this is a good introduction to gender identity for kids.
Profile Image for Jenni Frencham.
1,284 reviews52 followers
September 18, 2017
This is a good picture book featuring a genderqueer character who enjoys dressing in costumes, playing soccer, and spending time with their friends. My only quibble is the "coloring-book style" illustrations a la Morris Minklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, which I think take away from the overall message.
Profile Image for Casandria.
2,794 reviews4 followers
June 16, 2017
I didn't love the illustrations, but I totally respect the way these authors handled the subject. Tiny doesn't want to be labelled as either a boy or a girl. Tiny's addition to a new class at school makes schoolmates re-evaluate their gender biases.
Profile Image for Lee.
176 reviews
April 13, 2019
Hmm. Well, why would you gender the person in the fire truck, assuming they are a woman in a book about not gendering people? Lost me there. Still, the rest was pretty good. I liked the questions for kids at the back.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
2 reviews1 follower
April 15, 2020
Sweet and kind children’s book on gender

This was a sweet book and lovely illustrations and kind words for anyone sharing the message of gender fluidity with children. Thank you Fox and Sarah!!
Profile Image for Chinook.
2,265 reviews19 followers
April 25, 2021
I wish the illustrations were better, because this is otherwise a good book. It introduces Tiny, who uses they/them and is potentially bigender based on their sibling asking if they were a boy or a girl today.
Profile Image for Sarah.
813 reviews11 followers
June 11, 2018
This is a cool book that shows a child who doesn't want to tell others if they are a boy or a girl (cause why does it matter anyway?!)
Profile Image for Nataly.
12 reviews1 follower
July 24, 2019
3.5 / A book about being yourself. I really liked the topic but thought the storyline was kind of everywhere.
Profile Image for Christine Burns.
Author 9 books35 followers
December 11, 2017
An utterly charming book, beautifully illustrated, which invites children to question whether the gender of other people actually matters and whether the ‘rules’ supposedly attached to gender are meaningful. Thoroughly recommended.
Profile Image for Kate Puleo Unger.
1,206 reviews20 followers
July 23, 2017
In the book the main character does not identify with being a boy or being a girl. Other characters keep pressing the question, but no answer is ever given. Statements are made about the two genders, i.e. girls cannot be firefighters, and then refuted by the characters. The goal is to get discussion going with children about gender and what it means.

The illustrations are colorful and complementary to the text. This book was produced as a means to raise funds for a few groups in the UK that focus on gender identity issues and trans people.

I think it's a good resource.

Profile Image for Ryan.
4,707 reviews25 followers
January 31, 2017
Tiny is a child. That is all that matters. It does not matter if Tiny is a boy or a girl. Tiny likes to play dress up, and football, an do art. Boy or girl does not matter, only that Tiny is true to who they are. To me, the purpose of this book is to look beyond gender roles, and ask yourself (or your kids) if that really matters. And if it matters, why does it matter. An interesting book.
Profile Image for Emily.
2,208 reviews
March 30, 2017
The illustrations aren’t as powerful as they good be, but the story has a good message. I wish there was a little bit more of an explanation in the back of the book, or tips for adults on how to talk to children about gender identity other than the teacher’s technique.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews

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