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Big Boys Cry

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  359 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Let boys cry! This picture book imagines a world in which boys are encouraged to express their full range of emotions.

It's Levi's first day at a new school, and he's scared. When his father tries to comfort Levi, he falls back on the line his own father used to use with him: "Big boys don't cry." Though he immediately understands his misstep, he can't find the words to
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  359 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Maggie Mattmiller
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
We need more books like this! Not only because it shows men crying, but also because (spoiler alert) a parent has a message at the beginning that is different than that at the end. We see not only men crying, but men (and an adult) growing. So important.
La Coccinelle
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
This little story has a few problems. I get that they're there to move the plot along, but one of them could be kind of scary to young children.

Despite what the synopsis says, Levi's father doesn't immediately understand his misstep (unless that's something that's only in the mind of the author, because it didn't make it onto the page), and poor Levi--as well as the reader--has to continue with a pretty heavy bit of social conditioning to overcome. As he sees men of all kinds shedding tears as
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for New Children's Stories Addressing Boys' Emotional Lives
Feeling frightened on his first day at a new school, Levi begins to weep, only to be told by his concerned father that "big boys don't cry." As he walks to school however, he sees any number of grown men crying, each for different reasons. Reassured about showing his emotions, he lets a tear slip as he gets to school. Fortunately, he has such a good time that he is no longer crying when he gets home. This time, it is his father who weeps, leading Levi to offer comfort in turn: for big boys do ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
But I want to know why Levi’s dad didn’t walk with/take him to the first day of school.
Age: Preschool-2nd grade
Family: Father and son
Familiar Experience: Going to a new school, first day of school

Before Levi nervously leaves for his first day of school, his father tells him that "big boys don't cry." But on his way, Levi sees a variety of men experiencing strong emotions and shedding tears.

A great, simple way to show boys that there are many reasons to cry and it is okay. Equally as important, the father admits he was wrong to his child which is a strong message to tell fathers.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
The story as it is great for the intended audience and the simple message it wanted to deliver and the art is beautiful!!

But, for a stronger impact I would’ve loved to see a bit more pages on why the dad said “boys don’t cry” and then by the end of it changed his mind. There was no explanation as to why he said that or why he changed his mind later and without that the story felt a bit like it was floating around.
Alex  Baugh
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: school, picture-book
This isn't so much a school story as it is a story about emotional openness, but it does revolve around a young boy named Levi and his first day at a new school. Levi is understandably scared and his dad really doesn't know what to do. As Levi leaves for school, his dad tells him that big boys don't cry. But as he walks to school, Levi notices different men and older boys with tears in their eyes for all kinds of reasons. Among them are a man who is a fisherman and leaving for a long trip away ...more
Ben Truong
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big Boys Cry is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Jonty Howley, which stars a boy named Levi on his first day of school and learns that it is okay for a big boy, like himself, to cry.

The text is rather simplistic and straightforward. It is a quiet, vulnerable story about emotions and the right to express them. The illustrations are equally as serene as the depiction of a quaint seaside village seemed rather apropos to the narrative.

The premise of the book is rather
Amy McFadden
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
#bookaday summer reading challenge #32. A simple, straightforward, and charming challenge to that moldy old adage of traditional , toxic masculinity. Would make a great choice for read aloud, and will hopefully stimulate lots of emotionally aware conversations. I’m definitely buying this first thing this fall. ...more
Marigold Bookhound
Levi is off to his first day of school and feeling scared, when his dad says "Big boys don't cry". But on the route to school, Levi encounters oodles of big boys and men who ARE crying! With beautiful, vivid illustrations of Levi's seaside town and all its inhabitants, this book tells an important message via a simple and to-the-point story.
Chante Piette-Valentine
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved reading this book to my little one! It has such an important message in a beautifully illustrated picture book!
Kyra Hahn
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: storytime
Charming picture book about a boy heading off to his first day of school, being scared, and learning that big boys do have emotions and cry. Love that this book works to dispel the gender-based myth of not being emotional.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story with sparse text that begins with the message “Big boys don’t cry,” but goes on to feature illustrations of all kinds of men crying, and a conclusion of “big boys do cry.” Not much of a story, but definitely useful to talk about emotions and expressing them and how men have and express them, too.
I'm sure that I'm not the only person who hates the saying that "Boys don't cry." But still, many adults use that saying to encourage youngsters to buck up, keep a stiff upper lip, and carry on, burying their emotions. While I'm not suggesting that it's okay to spend the day weeping, there is something to be said about expressing one's emotions and not being afraid to cry. In this picture book, Levi is a bit anxious about heading off to school. He knows that he'll be the new boy at a new school, ...more
Lately I've read quite a number of children's illustrated books with the theme of boys being anxious to head off to school (See Garmann's Summer and Camp Tiger). In Jonty Howley's Big Boys Cry, Levi is likewise fretful about being the new kid at his school. His dad, a real man's man with amazingly broad shoulders, sends him off with these misguided words of advice, "Big boys don't cry." If the pressure of that admonition weren't hard enough, mix in the confusion Levi feels when he notices men ...more
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kiddo-books
Big boys do Cry is about a boy names Levi who is going to a new school and is scared, Dad unsure how to help his son with fear says "Big Boys don't Cry" which Levi uses as a Mantra on his way to school. On his journey to school Levi sees men and women of all ages crying and he keeps judging them for it, repeating the phrase Big Boys Don't Cry until he too succumbs to his fears realizing big boys in fact cry. In the end he finds his father at home crying over his son's day, as he was scared for ...more
Levi learns the conventional belief that big boys don't cry is incorrect after observing adult men in his community.

When Levi is scared about starting school, his father doesn't know what to do. Instead of reassuring his son that it is okay to feel scared, he falls back on the standard advice to be brave and tells him "big boys don't cry." As Levi walks to school, he sees "big boys crying everywhere" for all kinds of reasons and sheds a tear of his own.

School turns out to be not as scary as Levi
There are lots of emotions when someone starts school, especially for new students. Oftentimes young boys are discouraged from crying, being told that "Big boys don't cry." When Levi hears this admonition from his father, he pulls himself together and walks himself to school. Along the way, he sees lots of grown men in tears over many different situations. Thus, the young man learns that big boys do indeed cry. When he shares this with his father at the end of the day, the two become closer in ...more
Age range 3-7
Levi is starting at a new school and he is scared. His Papa doesn’t know what to do for him, so he tells him that big boys don’t cry. As Levi walks to school, he sees lots of men crying. They cry over memories and poetry, getting engaged, and music. Levi sees men of all different sorts crying for different reasons. He gets to school, and everyone is nice and the day flys by. When he gets home, Levi sees his Papa crying, and when Levi asks his Papa why he is crying, he says that it
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This is a lovely story about a boy who in the course of a day witnesses all kinds of men crying. Poets, fishermen leaving on long journeys, a man proposing, a poor man and a rich man, a baker, a biker...

Everyone cries sometimes and that is okay! We've needed a picture book like this for a long time, in a society that too often insists men hide their "taboo" emotions it's lovely to see something aimed a little ones, letting them know it's a-okay to express their fears, their hurts, their
Looking for books to help SD and SS with emotional intelligence. This was on a recommended list. Hubby read for family bedtime book. I had to give it a closer look to see the illustrations better. There is more to be seen and they are small, so best in lap-read or read-alone there. Could work in storytime if I pointed out all those things. Not sure if the kids quite got the message in there or not. I suppose we can refer to it once in a while and maybe they'll remember reading it.
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Preschool-2nd grade
Family: Father and son
Familiar Experience: Going to a new school, first day of school

Before Levi nervously leaves for his first day of school, his father tells him that "big boys don't cry." But on his way, Levi sees a variety of men experiencing strong emotions and shedding tears. A great, simple way to show boys that there are many reasons to cry and it is okay.

Reviewed by: Miss Kelsey, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Library
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Once in a while you find the perfect book that shows children it is OK to have strong emotions. Big Boys Cry by Jonty Howley is just one of those books. The illustrations complement the text perfectly and give great visual clues for new readers. Both the text and the art on each page of this book provide an opportunity for a great discussion between big people and little people age 2 - 7. Enjoy.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a sweet book! Yes it is about it being ok for men to cry but also has another wonderful lesson. His father suggests that big boys don't cry. Then his son sees a variety of men throughout his day crying. His father has told him one thing and he's seeing something else. This is just as important to me. That parents can mean well but can be wrong. Really well done. Not wordy, an easy, quick read, and powerful message.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A much needed book for my library collection to combat any teasing for tears that I may witness. I admit I teared up a bit as this book ended. It is simple, yet complex. The illustrations tell as much of the story as the text. In our attempts to be brave we often do not allow ourselves crying as it is seen as a weakness. This book explains that there are many appropriate times to cry, but we keep on growing and the tears will dry.
Corrie Schuster
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Levi feels scared because he's starting at a new school. His dad tells him big boys don't cry, yet Levi sees lots of men crying on his way to school. Levi realizes that it is okay to cry and teaches his dad that as well.

The artwork and story line are fantastic. The pictures are also very interactive- you could definitely have kids help figure out why each man is crying as an interactive activity.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Aww! Such cute book!
A boy's first day of school and he's scared and about to cry. His dad says big boys don't cry. But as the son walks to school he sees every man crying. He has a great day at school and comes home to see his dad in tears. The boy asked his dad why he is crying. Dad says "it was your first day of school and I was scared." The boy then shared with his dad that he saw all kinds of men crying on his way to school. His dad then says "you're right big boys do cry".

So cute!
Read  Ribbet
A scary first day of school becomes a lesson for a young boy on whether it is ok for big boys to cry. While he is warned by his dad not to before he left, along the way he sees many "big boys" doing just the reverse to express their emotions. With minimal word, the book provides a good lesson on the making some important behaviors more acceptable.
Alison Wickham
I love the message behind this story. However, something about the style of illustrations I didn't enjoy. Despite this, I think this book is fantastic for showing children that it is okay to show emotion and that there is nothing wrong with crying. Also that adults do feel too. Goes against the strong male stereotype of fathers and professions.
A briefly plotted, functional look at what might make a man cry. The illustrations delight, and despite the sparse storyline (view spoiler) the message is a good one.
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