Kilodavis, Cheryl (Author) and DeSimone, Suzanne (Illustrator). (2011). My Princess Boy: A Mom’s Story About a Young Boy Who Loves to Dress Up. New York, NY: Aladdin.
The title page of My Princess Boy includes a lovely thought: “As a community, we can accept and support our children for whomever they are and however they wish to look.” This book encourages families and communities to do just that, showing a loving family and group of friends playing and dancing with a gender-creative child.
The art is interesting. Some people might find the featureless faces somewhat alarming, but I personally liked them; I think children can imagine themselves into the story more easily. I also liked that the Princess Boy and his family are Black. Unfortunately, it’s still rare to see families of color in picture books, and diversifying children’s books is important to enhancing children’s understanding of diversity and inclusivity.
The Princess Boy in this picture book has a wonderfully supportive family that plays with him and encourages him to play dress up how he likes. The story is narrated by his mother, and we are introduced to his dad and cool brother, as well as his friends. Although this child clearly has unconditional love from his family, there is mention of other children and adults making fun of him for wearing pretty dresses.
The mother asks the reader, “If you see a Princess Boy, will you laugh at him? Will you call him a name? Will you play with him? Will you like him for who he is?” I like this explicit call for tolerance, which makes this book an excellent choice not just for gender-creative children, but for all children and for parents as well.