When Aidan Became a Brother

Lee & Low. May 2019. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781620148372.
PreS-Gr 2–This well-illustrated and sweet family tale centers on the experiences of a transgender boy. Like Erica Silverman’s Jack (not Jackie), this title portrays parental support and love between siblings. In this story, Aidan has not yet met the baby who will be his sibling, and that’s what has him worried. Will the baby like sea horse or penguin-themed outfits better? If Aidan helps paint the nursery to look like the sky, maybe his new sibling won’t ever feel trapped the way Aidan did in his old room, before his parents knew he was a boy. Aidan does everything he can to prepare (short of accepting his dad’s offer to practice changing diapers), but his excitement shifts to anxiety. What if he’s making mistakes and the baby also ends up feeling misunderstood? Lukoff (himself a transgender man) nails the nuances of Aidan’s conflict, providing believable reassurance through Aidan’s mom, who offers support specific to her son’s experience and proves universally calming advice: “We made some mistakes but you helped us fix them....This baby is lucky to have you and so are we.” Juanita’s playful watercolors make great use of clothing patterns and nature motifs, airily fashioning the sunny world of Aidan’s mostly brown-skinned family and their friends, while framing curious or intrusive strangers from a child’s-eye view.
VERDICT A much-needed and appealing addition to the picture book canon; both emotionally and visually satisfying.

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