“What will I be for Halloween?” is on the minds of many children this month. Halloween can be a time when anything is possible, but these possibilities can also be snatched away by pressure to fit gender stereotypes. Here are some reactions I’ve gotten from kids after reading the book I wrote about a little boy who wants to dress up as a princess: “Why would a boy want to wear a dress?”, or “Don’t you mean a prince?” “I dressed up as Darth Vader, but some kids said I couldn’t because I’m a girl.”
Children get the message at an early age that gender limits who they can be and what they can do. Costumes that promote negative racial and gender stereotypes are also big concern on Halloween. Halloween is a perfect time to encourage appreciation for difference, and help them challenge harmful stereotypes. Books can help get these conversations started.
One of a Kind, Like Me/Único como yo is a great book for starting conversations about gender stereotypes, and it’s bilingual in Spanish and English! Danny wants to be a princess in the school parade and he and mom race off to find the perfect purple princess dress. Here are some places to buy it!
The book is based on a true story from my son’s childhood. Check out my story in this beautifully animated video.
There is a growing body of diverse children’s books. Here are a few great websites:
- Books that challenge gender limits, from Welcoming Schools
- Social justice book lists from Teaching for Change
- Children’s Books from Reflection Press
I hope you enjoy reading!
P.S. I love reading to children. Please contact me here, if you’d like to schedule an author’s visit.