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When Aidan Became A Brother

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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.

When Aidan Became a Brother is a heartwarming book that will resonate with transgender children, reassure any child concerned about becoming an older sibling, and celebrate the many transitions a family can experience.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published May 7, 2019

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Kyle Lukoff

15 books152 followers

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5 stars
1,242 (67%)
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469 (25%)
3 stars
106 (5%)
2 stars
12 (<1%)
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16 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 408 reviews
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.4k followers
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December 22, 2020
[Book #3 for my grad school Children's Lit class]
Profile Image for Jenna (Falling Letters).
645 reviews59 followers
January 27, 2020
Update Jan. 27 2020: Delighted to see such a deserving story awarded the Stonewall Book Award.

#OwnVoices for trans boy rep. This is somehow even better than I thought it would be?? The illustrations are gorgeous and the text is written with such care. I love the author’s note that speaks directly to kids.
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,115 reviews102 followers
May 15, 2019
At birth, everyone thought Aidan was a girl. But as Aidan grew up, he didn’t like his name, the way his room was decorated, or wearing girl clothes. Aidan cut his hair off, realizing that he was a boy. He told his parents, and they learned from other families what having a transgender child is all about. Aidan picked his new name, they changed his bedroom into one that felt right, and he liked his new clothes. Then Aidan’s mother got pregnant. Aidan loved helping pick clothes for the baby, paint colors for the nursery, and even the baby’s name. But when people asked Aidan if he wanted a little brother or little sister, Aidan didn’t know how to answer. As the big day approached, Aidan worried about being a good big brother. Happily, his mother was there to explain that no matter who the new baby turned out to be, they would be so lucky to have Aidan as a brother.

Lukoff has created an #ownvoices picture book that truly celebrates a child who deeply understands their gender identity to be different from the one they were assigned at birth. The reaction of the supportive parents is beautiful to see in a picture book format as they work with Aidan not only to be able to express himself fully but also to be able to work through natural fears with a new baby. Those fears and the inevitable discussions of gender of a baby are vital parts of the story and allow readers to realize how deeply ingrained gender is in so many parts of our lives.

The illustrations by Juanita are full of energy and show a child with a flair for fashion who expresses himself clearly as a boy. His facial expressions change from his deep unhappiness when he is being treated as a girl to delight at being able to express himself as the boy he truly is. The depiction of a loving family of color handling these intersectionality issues so lovingly is also great to see.

As the parent of a transgender person, this is exactly the sort of picture book our families need and other families must read. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Profile Image for Becket.
1,023 reviews37 followers
July 2, 2019
Not only is this book desperately needed, but it's also packed with kid appeal, as well as illustrations SO adorably charming that I can barely handle it.
Profile Image for Maggi Rohde.
919 reviews14 followers
February 19, 2020
It’s one of those amazing accomplishments: a book about LGBTQIA kids that isn’t didactic or boring. With enormous kid appeal, this book deserves to be shared widely and often.
Profile Image for Andrew Greenlaw-Houldsworth.
154 reviews7 followers
August 10, 2019
AHHHH SO GOOD!! What i love the most is that this picture book uses explicit language when describing the protagonist as trans, which helps kids have a better understanding of gender. It also explores how being trans/nonbinary can make the subject of a new sibling can be hard for a kid who was misgendered at birth and early on in life. Great for 5 and up, and an exemplary gift book. Highlyhighly HIGHLY recommend.
Profile Image for Andrew.
1,440 reviews78 followers
December 28, 2018
It isn't until a few years of Aidan's life that he and his family realize he is a boy, not a girl. When he transitions, he flourishes and thrives, feeling whole. Then he gets news-- he's going to be a big brother! It's very exciting, but Aidan is worried about everything being perfect for the baby. I think readers of any and every age should read this book-- it really puts into perspective how much we gender things, even babies before they're born. This is a very big thing that can wind up being unhealthy for children, transgender or not. When Aidan Became a Brother is an absolute must have, and has already become a favorite of mine.
Profile Image for Jillian Heise.
2,270 reviews476 followers
September 8, 2019
THIS is the book. A beautiful and empowering story of identity. What we've been needing in our schools. The one that is going to thoughtfully, lovingly, and honestly help our kids better understand transgender kids they hear about, encounter, or know. I urge you to order this picture book and share it with all kids in your life.
Profile Image for Darla.
84 reviews2 followers
May 30, 2019
I LOVE Aidan, with his excellent outfits and his plants, I love all the fun little details in the illustrations (gonna need that lady's watermelon romper, thanks), and most of all I love having these beautiful words to share with readers, whether they're getting ready to become a a big sibling, thinking about who they are, or just looking for a sweet and uplifting read!
Profile Image for Ivy Moser.
285 reviews4 followers
June 16, 2020
Love the story, love the art, love the message! Affirming and inclusive and a great way to learn and grow for all ages.

Please read it!
Profile Image for Brierley.
17 reviews1 follower
April 3, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss + in exchange for an honest review.
This is a beautiful book! Kyle Lukoff does an excellent job thoughtfully presenting Aidan's perspective. I found Kaylani Juanita's illustrations joyful and exuberant. My favorite part was when Aidan changed 50,000+ names for boys and girls to 50,000+ names for babies and babies. 😉 I hope to see more of Aidan in the future.

Profile Image for TJ.
670 reviews52 followers
January 30, 2020
This was such a genuine, wholesome read. I highly recommend it to parents wanting to introduce their children to transgender topics -- or to just anyone; it's something you can appreciate at any age. 5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,083 reviews173 followers
July 2, 2019
A young transgender boy confronts the idea of becoming an older brother in this sweet picture-book from author Kyle Lukoff and illustrator Kaylani Juanita. Born as a girl, Aidan never felt comfortable with that gender identification, eventually sharing his deep frustration with his supportive parents. Now happily living as a boy, he isn't sure how to react when his mother announces she is expecting another child. He wants to be a loving sibling, and to ensure that the baby is happy. But what should he do to make that a reality...?

Lukoff captures what feels like an authentic perspective with Aidan's story - the brief note at the rear of the book indicates that he too was a trans boy - subtly highlighting through this story of a loving family that transgender children experience everything that other kids do, including the worries that sometimes come with the arrival of a new baby sibling. The artwork from Juanita is colorful and cute, depicting a close-knit family of color. I appreciated the nuance shown by the author in the scenes in which the narrator explains that there are all kinds of girls, who like all kinds of things, as this distinguishes children who simply don't conform to common gender stereotypes from transgender children. On the other hand, I'm not sure how I felt about the illustration in which "boy" and "girl" are crossed off the baby name book, or the idea that Aidan's younger sibling should be raised gender neutral, as I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with raising children as boys and/or girls. Leaving that issue aside (and it is not a minor one, given the story-line), this is still a sweet new book, one I would recommend to anyone looking for children's stories depicting transgender children.
Profile Image for Chinook.
2,239 reviews19 followers
May 27, 2020
This was a great read. It stimulated a lot of questions and discussion. Both girls seem to understand the basic idea of transgender and understood why Aidan was worried about the baby being gendered. They struggled a bit with pronouns at times during the story and we talked about the concept of deadnaming when Kait wanted to know his girl name.

Overall, this is presently my favourite book to introduce children to transgender children.
Profile Image for Cheryl Klein.
Author 5 books844 followers
July 5, 2020
This is what I wrote on AIDAN's publication day in 2019:

Today is the publication day for a picture book I edited and love very much, WHEN AIDAN BECAME A BROTHER by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita. This came to me via the excellent Bill Konigsberg, and was one of those unicorn manuscripts that I knew I wanted to publish from the very first time I read it. Part of its specialness was that all of the picture books about transgender kids I’d seen up to that point were focused exclusively on the initial transition and other (cis) people’s reactions to that transition . . . and AIDAN gets that over with in three spreads. After that, it becomes a lovely story of continuing transitions, as Aidan adjusts from being an only child to an older brother, and the book reminds the reader that *life* is a series of transitions — as we all grow up, for example, or move from living in a three-person family to four-.

It's a great sibling story, as Aidan fights to protect the new baby from the gendered expectations that marred his childhood. And it's the story of the truest, deepest love a family can offer — a love that provides space for everyone in it to make mistakes and learn and grow. It's also truly groundbreaking in its focus on joy rather than pain, and on taking care of its protagonist and readers who will identify with the protagonist -- a focus that may not have been possible if it wasn't also #ownvoices.

Kyle and I had some great conversations during the course of editing it, where *I* made mistakes and learned and grew, and I always love a book that teaches me things in its editorial process. The same goes for the illustration process with Kaylani, whose pictures are so full of color and life and light and INCREDIBLE character-driven detail that I'm still noticing new things in them now.

As I prepare for the arrival of my own baby in September, I’ve thought about AIDAN more than any other book I've worked on, as a model for the kind of thoughtful parent I want to be and the kind of open and loving child I want to raise. I also taught the book in a picture-book-writing workshop a few weeks ago, and after I read it to the audience, I asked them one of my standard story-analysis questions: “Who or what changes in the course of this story?” And someone raised their hand and said, “The reader.” I think that's true, and it will open a lot of eyes and change a lot of minds in the years to come.

Finally, I have to close with an editorbrag: WHEN AIDAN BECAME A BROTHER has received FOUR starred reviews! And in one of them, @KirkusReviews said it "sets a new standard of excellence in transgender representation for readers." I am so, so proud to be publishing it, and I hope you'll check it out.
Profile Image for Alyssa Heun.
21 reviews
March 8, 2020
I found this book using the Rainbow Book List 2020 Top Ten.

The story is about Aidan who was born a girl, but realizes that he doesn’t feel like a girl. He feels as if he was another kind of boy. The story is told from his perspective on how it was hard to tell his family and for others in the community to understand what he was going through, but through it all he had his family to support him through the transition. Aidan not only talks about support from his family, but support from other transgender families. When he decides that he views himself as a boy and not a girl, he cuts his hair and finds out different ways to be a boy. Then, Aidan finds out that his mom is having a baby and he will be a big brother. He goes through some self doubt and wants to make sure that the baby is understood. He is worried that the baby is not going to be happy with everything and wants to make sure he is the best big brother he could be. His mom reassures him by saying, “When you were born, we didn’t know you were going to be our son. We made some mistakes, but you helped us fix them. And you taught us how important it is to love someone for exactly who they are. This baby is so lucky to have you and so are we”. He then realized that not everything will be perfect and that’s okay. The most important thing is that Aidan knew how to love someone and that is all you need!

The quote I put in the summary really resonated with me because it shows the power of family and how we don’t always know how to figure out a situation in the correct way, but with the power of knowledge and understanding, we can do anything to make it right. As well as, that mistakes are okay; we learn from them and they make us better people in the end!

Diversity is portrayed well in this book as Aidan is biracial (black and South Asain) along with the illustrations being bright with various patterns that are depicted on Adian’s clothes to show his vibrant perspective on life. The illustrations are digital and have the look of watercolor and ink. This story fits the genre LGBT picture books due to the topic on a transgender child and inclusion. It also breaks away from binary language and stereotypical gender roles. There is also an author’s note that it is important to be open and supportive to various situations and that there isn’t only one way to be in any gender.

I would use this story to discuss the transgender community, as well as, help children who are going through this same process as Aidan. This book would be great to help students understand the experience of getting a new sister or brother and to understand the different transitions that families go through.
5,870 reviews131 followers
July 18, 2019
When Aidan Became a Brother is a children's picture book written by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, which stars a transgender boy, who anticipates his new job as a big brother by helping his parents prepare for his baby sibling's arrival.

Lukoff's text is rather simplistic and straightforward. It is written with sensitivity and candor as Aidan takes his first steps toward claiming his identity. When his mother is expecting another child, Aidan excitedly prepares for his big brother role and seeks to welcome his sibling. Juanita's illustrations with fine ink outlines and loose patterns that represented the narrative rather well.

The premise of the book is rather straightforward. Everyone thought Aidan was a girl when he was born, but Aidan knows that he was really another kind of boy. With his parents' support, he embraces his identity and takes on a new, important role, becoming a big brother. More than anything, he wants the baby to feel loved and understood for the person they would become.

All in all, When Aidan Became a Brother is a wonderful children's book that explores a transgendered child's experience and the importance of learning how to love someone for exactly who they are.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
321 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2019
This is a great picture book illustrating the story of a transgender boy who wants to make sure that his new sibling feels understood. I appreciate that the author mentions that it was a transitioning time for the parents as well.

I felt for Aidan during the parts where he and his parents where met with people who did not understand/were being nosy for no reason. I wanted to reach through the story and give him a huge hug and tell him that people suck sometimes.

The illustrations are absolutely amazing . The use of the bright colors and the smooth lines are very pleasing!

10/10 would recommend to the universe.
Profile Image for Kris Dersch.
2,324 reviews14 followers
June 28, 2020
This was wonderful! It explains Aidan's journey as a trans boy clearly and in a way kids will understand (and without misgendering or deadnaming him, very important,) and then switches gears into how he prepares for the arrival of his new sibling and despite his worries that the world will be imperfect for the new baby (as it was for him) love is the most important thing. Mistakes will be made, they always are, such a reassuring message for both parents and kids. A wonderful and inclusive book for trans kids, siblings, or any other kid. I like the little author's note at the end, not too much, just enough.
Profile Image for Missy.
48 reviews5 followers
December 3, 2019
Yes! This book has so much that I was hoping for - a story about a young trans boy (there aren't many kids books about trans boys) that doesn't only focus on his transition but has another story as well. It also provides critical thinking about how to create supportive environments for diverse gender identity development. And wonderful to see a family of color! I've been waiting for something like this.
Profile Image for Caroline.
1,068 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2020
YES OWN VOICES! This is a wonderful book about a little boy who is born a girl and doesn't feel right in his own skin. His family is warm and supportive and willing to learn to help him be himself. The author is also transgender and his author's note details how important this story is for kids who may be going through the same transitions as Aidan. I loved this book!
4,967 reviews71 followers
January 8, 2020
Rounded up because I feel this is a much needed book. A child feels trapped because everyone thinks he is a girl. He acts out, but finally tells his parents. It takes some time for everyone to adjust, but they all learn a lot form other families with transgender kids. He chooses a new name, they change his room so he feels he belongs. When his parents announce that there will be another baby, Aidan is excited about being a big brother and wants to get it right (except the changing diapers bit.) As the day gets closer, Aidan starts to worry. His mother admits that they made some mistakes with Aidan, but with his help they fixed them. "And you taught us how important it is to love someone for exactly who they are."

This is a transgender book, but I think it is more than that too. I think it would be a great reminder to parents to let their children be themselves instead of forcing any stereotypical behavior on them or their own beliefs, dreams, goals etc.

My favorite book of 2019.
Profile Image for La'Tina Redmond.
22 reviews
March 6, 2020
When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff is a unique story about finding your true self. "When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl". Aidan knew at an early age that he was different and didn't fit in with the other girls. With the help of his parents he is able to be himself and help his mother and father prepare for his new sibling."He wanted to make sure this baby would fell understood right away".

This book helps to introduce the idea of transgender roles in our society. It will also work to show how families transition throughout life. Lukoff also does well at showing readers the correct language to use when referring to transgenders. For example, although Aidan was introduced as a female in the beginning of the text he is sure to identify Aidan using he and his.
Profile Image for Molly.
2,178 reviews
June 15, 2019
Tells the story of Aidan, a young trans boy who is about to become a brother. He wants to get everything right so the new baby feels welcome and they can be themself. This is a lovely story not only about the transgender experience but also the anxieties that can come with becoming an older sibling. It feels authentic because it is written by an actual transgender person. The illustrations are lovely too. Overall, a great picture book.
Profile Image for Kim.
127 reviews
October 4, 2019
When Aidan, a transgender boy, finds out his mother is having a baby, he wonders how he can help the baby to be themselves. Written by an own voices author, this thoughtful book will help young readers to learn more about themselves and the people with whom they share the world. Read. Learn. Share.
Profile Image for Stephanie Bange.
1,540 reviews11 followers
July 20, 2020
Wow. This book pulls no punches on what it is like to be young and transgender.

Born as a girl, Aidan knew something was not right. He felt like all the girly stuff -- his room, his name, his clothes were all wrong. He finally felt right when he cut off his braids and told his parents what he knew about himself. This adjustment took some time for his family. With the help of other families with transgender kids, they all learned a lot. Shortly after his transition, his mother looks to him to help buy clothes and set up a nursery for his new sibling. Aidan is very sensitive to the needs of the gender identity of the new baby, helping to find just the right gender-neutral name, decorations and needs of the baby. His mother reassures him that he will be the best big brother he can be, that he might make mistakes, but that would be OK -- just as he was OK now.

Lukoff, himself transgender, tells a heart-warming story that puts the reader in the middle of the story. This could be his story, it is so authentic. Aidan's parents are kind and understanding; they want the best for their child to succeed. This certainly comes through in the text. Laylani Juanita's digital illustrations remind me of Laura Cornell's work in all of Jamie Lee Curtis's books -- except Juanita's world is filled with diversity. Light and airy, they are full of detail and help move the story forward. There's a lot of diversity in this celebration of life!

While this topic may not be everyone's cup of tea, it fills a needed niche in helping others learn about what it is like to feel trapped in a body that is not the right sex. Pair this with Jazz Jennings' picture book, I Am Jazz, Red by Michael Hall, and Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman for a better understanding of the transgender experience. This will be useful for counselors and families of trans children, and just as important for their extended families and friends to build a bridge of understanding and empathy.

Highly Recommended for K - 3.
Profile Image for Radym.
53 reviews5 followers
November 3, 2019
Awesome primer about gender packaged in a beautifully-illustrated and written book for children PreK-3rd grade, following Aidan and his parents as they welcome a new baby into the family. I especially love this story, because it normalizes transgender youth, exemplifies a positive relationship between transgender children and their parents, both of whom are learning about gender at the same time, and calls into question the myriad of ways our society puts a gender label on everything. This book is festive, informative without being didactic, and it is accompanied with a teacher's guide available on Lee & Low's website.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 408 reviews

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