A small boy wants to wear a shimmery skirt, glittery nail polish and sparkly bracelets just like his bigger sister, who tells him each time that he can’t because he is a boy, and boys don’t. But one by one his mother, his father and his abuelita all say, well, maybe you—we—haven’t seen this before, but it’s fine if that’s what he wants.
Then, when they visit the library, both in skirts, his sister turns into the defender of her little brother when two boys challenge his attire. As may more often than not be the case in real life, familial love and loyalty— or friendship—can be the spur to overcoming widely held prejudices, and an accumulation of many micro-interactions can eventually bring about a more inclusive and respectful-of-differences world. These days we often see girls allowed more choices. We need stories with more choices for boys too, like this sweet, pensive and realistic picture book, Sparkle Boy (Lee & Low $17.95), by Lesléa Newman, with illustrations by Maria Mola.