Hello, friends! Our last book of the year is Feminist Kids, written by Blanca Lacasa and Luis Amavisca, illustrated by Gusti, and translated by Cecilia Ross, a collection of conversations on breaking gender norms.
Through a series of short dialogue conversations, readers see normative gender roles being casually broken by a group of diverse kids. When talking about what they want to do when they grow up, Anna wants to be a carpenter and Javier hopes to be a nurse. Mike compliments his plus-size friend Patty’s stylish and comfy tank top, and she compliments his pink pants in return. A boy admits to crying at a sad movie without shame, and a group of boys are excited to dress as ballet dancers for the school party, just as their wheelchair-user pal Lupe is excited to be a superhero. At last, a mission statement of feminist kids declares that feminist kids believe in equality, and the freedom of boys and girls to do and look as they choose, as long as it shows respect and understanding to all around them.
Unfortunately problematic. I wanted to like this one SO much, and it has some strong moments. The text (translated from Portuguese) doesn’t always have the most natural flow, but the conversations and declaration hits some important points on what it means to be feminist. However, the book commits two cardinal sins for a book on diversity and inclusiveness: 1) the gender binary is enforced, making no allowance for those outside it, and 2) the Asian characters are depicted with yellow-tinted skin and slanted lines for eyes. It’s an utterly outdated visual stereotype for kidlit, and it’s all the more heartbreaking to see it in a book that is trying to teach kids about respect for differing cultures. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed parts of it, but with such an offensive and antiquated visual depiction of Asian people, we’ll never touch this one again. Give it a look if you like, but we can’t recommend it.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)