FICTION

Call Me Max

Reycraft. (Max and Friends). Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781478868620; pap. $8.95. ISBN 9781478868972.
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K-Gr 2–In short chapters, Max matter-of-factly explains that he sees a boy when he looks in the mirror even though he was given a girl’s name and was labeled female at birth. The story includes short definitions of terms like gender, “...being a boy or a girl. Or a little of both. Or not feeling like a boy or a girl.” Once Max starts school, his teacher calls him by his girl’s name, and he asks to be called Max, and she complies. The bathrooms are a tougher challenge. Max has a black male friend, Steven, who likes to wear dresses, but Steven is not transgender. He just likes dresses. The story is intentionally choppy, with short sentences and episodic chapters that one might find in a beginning reader, so the standard picture book size is unfortunate. Nonetheless, this is an excellent, and potentially groundbreaking, publication choice as an early reader title with a trans protagonist. Similar in format and tone to Dani Gabriel’s Sam, also a primary transgender coming-out picture book, but Max’s voice is more genuine.
VERDICT A welcome title for classrooms, libraries, and PFLAG and other support organizations’ collections.

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