Review of If You’re a Kid like Gavin

If You’re a Kid like Gavin If You’re a Kid like Gavin
by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff; illus. by J Yang
Primary    Tegen/HarperCollins    40 pp.   g
7/22    978-0-06-305756-2    $18.99

This timely picture book by activist Grimm, with help from author Lukoff (When Aidan Became a Brother, rev. 7/19) and artist Yang, tells the true story of young Gavin’s charge into the fight for transgender rights. Like many kids, Gavin is able to make certain decisions himself. Will he eat a worm on a dare? Probably not. Will he sneak a pet frog into his room? Likely, yes. However, there are some choices kids don’t make, including the gender they’re assigned at birth. But Gavin can choose whether to come out to his family and to face down bigotry within his community. When his school challenges his right to use the boys’ bathroom, Gavin stands up for himself and other transgender students by speaking at a school committee meeting, and later, on national news and in court alongside the ACLU. Though Gavin faces intimidating opponents, the text remains encouraging from the first page to the last. Yang’s dynamic digital illustrations have a comics-style quality; Gavin’s determination as he encounters new challenges and questions what to do is clearly conveyed. Background characters represent individuals of many skin tones, sizes, abilities, and cultures. The transgender flag’s cotton-candy pink and light blue shades appear in soft clouds overhead and on protest signs on several pages, perhaps as a reminder that Gavin is not alone in his fight for justice. This true story of courage and resiliency is sure to inspire young advocates everywhere. Notes from the authors are appended.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Hill Saxton

Hill Saxton is a youth services librarian at the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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