Dear Boy, A Celebration of Cool, Clever, Compassionate You!

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Dear Boy, A Celebration of Cool, Clever, Compassionate You! Book Poster Image
Encouraging advice for boys stresses kindness, compassion.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The boy models compassion and kindness, playing with girls, reading a book. Shows a boy can be an artist and a girl can be good at math.

Positive Messages

Every spread has a positive message. Some are: Believe in yourself, be kind, be a good sport, pursue you dreams, make friends with girls, "Yes means yes. / Anything else means no."

Positive Role Models

All the kids seem nice and friendly. Main character has white skin; kids of various skin tones are portrayed as well. A white girl's dolls are both white and black. The boy plays with them as well as with the girl (possibly his younger sister). "Sometimes you may feel like playing with trucks. / Sometimes you may feel like playing with dolls. / And other times you may feel like playing with both!"

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to to know that Dear Boy, by Paris Rosenthal and her father, Jason Rosenthal, is a companion book to Dear Girl, which Paris wrote with her late mother, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Both are illustrated by Holly Hatam. The first book was all about female empowerment, and this one is a lot about being kind and compassionate. Both offer encouragement. Toward the end of Dear Boy, it says, "Whenever you need an encouraging boost, remember you can turn to any page in this book."

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What's the story?

DEAR BOY, is a companion book to author Paris Rosenthal's Dear Girl, which she wrote with her late mother, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This one, written with her father, Jason Rosenthal, shows lots of possible "boy" situations -- rock climbing, playing hockey, basketball, running a race -- but it also shows a boy being an artist, playing with girls, playing with dolls. And it shows the main character kindly offering a boy a fresh ice cream bar after that boy dropped his. The underlying message for boys, as it was for girls, is: You can be whatever you want to be, and you are loved and supported.

Is it any good?

This encouraging book is loaded with positive messages, examples of kind, compassionate behavior, and cute cartoony illustrations by Holly Hatam. Some of the thoughts are tried and true, like "Believe in yourself before others can believe in you." And some seem fresher, like "It's okay not to know," "Always trust magic," and "Feeling cloudy? / It's okay to let the rain fall." There's even a message about consent: "Yes means yes. / Anything else means no." All hold the possibility of prompting further discussion and coming up with other real-life examples, making Dear Boy, a great, comforting, thought-provoking read-aloud.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways girls and boys play together in Dear Boy, A Celebration of Cool, Clever, Compassionate You!. Do you play with both boys and girls? Are there ways that boys and girls play differently, or can any person play any way? 

  • What's your favorite page in Dear Boy? What's the boy doing that you'd like to do? 

  • What do the authors mean when they say "Always trust magic"?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and stories that teach empathy

Themes & Topics

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