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Sparkle Boy

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  601 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, but he also loves things that sparkle, shimmer, and glitter. When his older sister, Jessie, shows off her new shimmery skirt, Casey wants to wear a shimmery skirt too. When Jessie comes home from a party with glittery nails, Casey wants glittery nails too. And when Abuelita visits wearing an armful of sparkly ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 15th 2017 by Lee & Low Books
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  601 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Stephanie Bange
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quite a few books have been written recently that feature boys who want to dress in girls' clothes. This one is different in several ways. First, author Leslea Newman has chosen not to make it about specifically wanting to wear girls' clothes -- instead, Casey wants things that are "sparkly", "shimmery", and "glittery". If his sister Jessie was wearing a t-shirt, jeans or shoes that had lights or bling, Casey may very well have wanted to wear those. I think boys can relate to this. Think about ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book! As the mom of a boy who liked to sparkle when he was younger, I'm glad this book is in the world.
Rod Brown
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
The author of Heather Has Two Mommies continues her tradition of breaking down topics adults have difficulty with into picture books that make it easy for children to understand. Gender identity, gender roles, sexual stereotypes and even sibling rivalry get the treatment here.
Danni Green
Jun 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: genderawesome, r4k, q4p
I just don't see why we need another book about gender-conforming people being jerks to a genderqueer/gender-nonconforming person. Let's please stop teaching children that the default scenario is for gender-expansive children to be treated with invalidation and cruelty.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
There's just so much to love about this book:

I love that it depicts a multicultural family without that being the main topic of the story. A Spanish term for grandmother (Abuelita) is used without it really being highlighted other than as a single glossary term on the verso page of the book.

I love that it depicts some sibling rivalry issues in a completely normal way. Jessie is older and loves sparkly things. Casey, her younger brother, likes age-appropriate things, like blocks, puzzles,
A young boy loves the sparkle and shine that his older sister gets to wear, in clothing, in nail polish, and in a bracelet from a grandmother. She doesn’t like it, thinks boys should not wear such things. They’re only for girls! As the story goes, the family is supportive and finally, the sister is too when she sticks up for her brother who wears a shimmery skirt on a library trip and gets teased. It may be an opening to talk about differences and choices. The story is rather matter-of-fact and ...more
Jenni Frencham
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not technically LGBT, since the main character doesn't declare a gender identity or orientation, but the fact that this boy likes sparkly things makes this a perfect book for families raising gender-creative or gender-nonconforming kids.
Cassandra Gelvin
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Sparkle, sparkle, little boy.

This story structure has been done to death. Younger sibling is doing something harmless that older sibling doesn't approve of. Siblings go somewhere. An outsider criticizes younger sibling for doing said behavior. Older sibling gets mad and sticks up for younger sibling out of solidarity. Older sibling now accepts behavior in younger sibling as if they had never had problems with it to begin with. The end.

I don't find this realistic, and I don't find the change in
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like the illustrations and the message is an important one, but it does come off as didactic, which I don't love.
I'm pleased to have this book in my possession as its content--and author--once again strike a note for embracing the things you love, even when others might not understand. After all, who decides what toys and objects are for girls and which ones are for boys? In this important picture book, Casey enjoys playing with his blocks and dump truck, but he also loves things that are shiny. He's fascinated by his older sister Jessie's shimmery skirt and glittery nails as well as his grandmother's ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Casey is a little boy who loves all things sparkly. When his older sister Jessie wears a sparkly skirt, he wants one, too. When she paints her nails, he wants to, too. When she gets a sparkly bracelet, he wants one, too. Although Jessie doesn't understand it, their parents and grandmother accept it as Casey being Casey. When he is bullied at the library, Jessie finds a way to look beyond the accepted and take her brother as he is. Similar to Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, this is a ...more
Mary Lee
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family, 2017, identity, gender
Loved the tension in the story when Casey's sister, who didn't like it that he wore sparkly, glittery things, stood up for him in the end.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: niños
Casey likes sparkly, shiny things: skirts, bracelets..."girly" stuff. The adults in his house are happy to let him be, but his sister struggles accepting this. When the time comes, she will stand up for her brother. Good story.

We've drilled into our daughter that we all can like whatever we want, so she was always behind Casey and his tastes.

The story reminded me when I was a kid in the 80s and my sister painted my nails to look like a rock star (think Poison or Motley Crue). My mother went
Kate Reilly
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is a lot to love about Sparkle Boy. Sparkle Boy follows a little boy who loves everything that glitters. While most of his family is supportive, his sister finds it odd that he likes "girl things". This book explores the topics of gender, identity, and stereotypes in a way that is accessible and relatable to young children. Breaking down gender expectations and biases is no small feat, and this book does that while remaining relatable to young children. Sparkle Boy was a Storytelling World ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Similar to Jacob's New Dress, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, and Big Bob, Little Bob, this picture books focuses on Casey, a little boy who likes things that other kids tell him aren't for boys. Casey, however, wants to shimmer, glitter, and sparkle just like his older sister. His mother, father, abuelita, and, finally, his sister tell him that he can be a boy and like glittery, sparkly, and shimmery things. While the books isn't treading completely new ground, it does bring ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
Awesome intent, really bad execution. I mean, *spoiler alert* but Sparkle Boy gets bullied at the library and the solution is that he should only be sparkly at home? I'm glad that his sister sees the light but I wish it had a broader message of acceptance.

I was so so very excited for this book to come out, and the illustrations are lovely. I got it for my library's collection but ultimately sent it back because of that takeaway and it was painfully didactic.

This is an important topic, and for
Fallon McAllister
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Such a good book that brings up a topic that needs to be addressed especially with younger children. Not only does it bring up an important topic, it does so in a way that makes it easy for children to understand and make sense of it.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love how the adults affirm young Casey’s choices and how sister Jessie models what kind of feedback Casey could get - and then changes her mind to defend him. Heartwarming and well done as well as easy to read aloud and discuss.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I’m glad that there are more books out there for young kids that address gender stereotypes and non-conformity. I thought it realistically portrayed the sister being uncomfortable with her little brother who likes sparkly things, but while I was glad she stood up for him in the end, I found it a bit cliched that she came to accept him after she has to defend him from bullies.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
A great addition to the growing collection of books that break gender stereotypes.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Awwwww. Just great.
Ms Threlkeld
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Challenges gender norms in a way young readers will understand. Could spark some very interesting discussions.
Kristina Jean Lareau
3.5 stars

A little worry and the story feels like it is missing a page when Jessie and Casey leave the library.

Otherwise a great story with lovely pencil drawings colored digitally.
Jordyn Hunter
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book was an excellent story that introduces the concept of acceptance and freedom. It contributes to many different types of responses and ways to handle a certain situation but also insists that at the end of the day you will be who you are and that’s all you really can do. I definitely recommend this book to you as a reader looking for a sense of direction and guidance.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Casey is a young boy that loves all the shimmery, glittery, and shiny things his older sister Jessie wears and uses. Jessie thinks Casey is silly for wanting to wear things boys don’t usually wear. The more things Casey wants to wear that are sparkly, the more frustrated she gets. Yet her parents and Abuelita calmly explain to Jessie that there is nothing wrong with the way Casey is choosing to express. When Mama takes the kids to the library, Jessie is once again frustrated because Casey is ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So sweet! This is honestly a lot better than I was expecting- it has a healthy amount of repetition that manages to avoid being annoying, and I love the fact that it's a brother/sister story on top of the more overt message of individually.
Edward Sullivan
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Positive, celebratory story about a young boy whose gender expression challenges societal stereotypes and the support he receives from his family.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A realistic fiction book, that breaks gender roles placed on children at a young age. Casey is a boy who enjoys playing with blocks, cars, puzzles but also has a fascination with things that are glittery and sparkly. When he sees his older sister Jessie with the glittery nail polish, and sparkly skirt and jewelry, Casey wants them too. The parents do an excellent job supporting Casey’s self-discovery, but his sister Jessie doesn’t agree much. It isn’t until they take a trip to the library and ...more
Sara A.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I was sent this book for my honest opinion. The story opens up with a sister showing her younger brother her glittery skirt. As with any young kid, he instantly becomes mesmerized with the sparkly skirt and wants his own. The story goes from there. The brother copying the sister whenever she puts on anything sparkly but she doesnt like it because its not how boys should dress. The parents however, are open to it and allow the boy to dress as he wants.
Julie Kirchner
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
With too many people in the world judging others and forcing children into gender roles, this book is a breath of fresh air. It is a delightful book that celebrates being true to yourself, accepting each other, and the power of a loving family.
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Lesléa Newman (born 1955, Brooklyn, NY) is the author of over 50 books including Heather Has Two Mommies, A Letter To Harvey Milk, Writing From The Heart, In Every Laugh a Tear, The Femme Mystique, Still Life with Buddy, Fat Chance and Out of the Closet and Nothing to Wear.
She has received many literary awards including Poetry Fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation and
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