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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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!"
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."
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.