Sparkle Boy

By Booklist

Jessie is a girl who like things that are “shimmery, glittery, and sparkly,” and so, as it turns out, does her younger brother, Casey. When he sees Jessie twirling in her sparkling skirt, he wants one. Jessie says, “boys don’t wear shimmery skirts,” but Mama finds an old one and Casey wears it. Ditto with glitter nail polish, which Dad has no problem with, and a bangle from Abuelita. Jessie, however, is still not on board and unhappily heads to the library with her decked-out brother. But when kids mistake Casey for a girl, and laugh when he says he’s a boy, Jessie takes a stand. The straightforward text realistically makes Jessie the one who sees the problems that can arise for Casey (and herself), but her protective mechanism seems natural, as does the leap from annoyance to acceptance. When the kids say no glitter for boys is “just the way it is,” Jessie responds, “Not anymore.” The inviting, solidly drawn artwork features doll-like characters with expressive faces. It’s easy to see that being himself moves Casey from sad to happy.