Sam Is My Sister

Albert Whitman. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807506516.
K-Gr 2–Evan, Sam, and Finn are best friends and brothers who dream of going to the moon together. As summer turns to fall, and the brothers begin to get ready for school, Evan notices that Sam is beginning to change. Sam no longer wants to have his hair cut short; Sam wants to check out sparkly princess books, in addition to space books, at the library; Sam wants to wear a dress on the first day of school. Evan begins to question Sam’s decisions, but their parents tell Evan that Sam is more comfortable with these things. Evan asks Sam why he wants to look like a girl. Sam asks Evan to write with his left hand and Evan says it is uncomfortable. Sam tells Evan this is how he feels as a boy. Their parents tell them that Sam is transgender. Finn and Evan accept this well, but it does not go as smoothly at school. Based on a true story, the narration demonstrates both gentleness and strength. Rhodes-Courter shows both good (Sam’s family) and challenging (non-accepting peers) aspects, but emphasizes the importance of honesty and acceptance. Haley slowly shifts Sam’s appearance in the artwork, working in step with the events of the story. The pictures are bright, upbeat, and playful.
VERDICT Recommended for public and elementary school libraries everywhere; transgender children need stories like this as it models both peer and self-acceptance in a logical, accessible, and loving way.

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