Can we just talk about gender stereotypes for a bit?
I have always been aware of gender stereotypes for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I found out the sex of my child that I realized how early in our lives society starts putting those pressures on us.
When I was pregnant, the first thing strangers asked me was “Boy or Girl?”. Everyone was quick to tell me how “Boys are more fun.” or “Girls have the best clothes”. Having a child during a time when “gender reveals” are considered the norm, my husband and I got puzzled looks when we revealed…we weren’t having one of those parties.
You see, our family just doesn’t buy into gender stereotypes. For example, my husband does most of the cooking in our home, and I do most of the yard work. We have always just played to our strengths and worked as a team. There are no “women’s job” and “men’s jobs” in this home.
Before I had a child, I always assumed my future children would just see this example and pick it up. But when the gender stereotyping started before he was even born, I realized it wouldn’t be so simple. I would need to actively work to ensure my son knows that his gender has no bearing on his toys, books, or hobbies.
So when I found Dazzling Travis by Hannah Carmona Dias, I knew it had to be on our bookshelf. In this book we meet Travis, who has a wide variety of interest, from dress up to basketball. When Travis is bullied for playing with a doll on the playground, he stands up for himself. He educates his bullies about gender stereotypes in a straightforward way that kids can easily understand.
While the main character is a boy, I love that this book specifically includes girls as well. The adorable illustrations by Brenda Figueroa depict several kids playing with a variety of different toys. The back of the book also has some great examples of people who challenged gender stereotypes, and became their own dazzling selves.
I think my favorite part of the book is that there are discussion questions on the first page. Six quick questions to ask (two before, two during, and two after) to give children a deeper understanding of the message and foster critical thinking.
This is the perfect book to encourage children to be confident in themselves and embrace the things that make them stand out from others. It’s also a great book to begin conversations about gender norms and how to challenge them.
You can buy Dazzling Travis at my Bookshop page to support both this blog and independent bookstores. (Please note these are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission from purchases made using these links.)
I would like to thank Cardinal Rule Press for providing me with a review copy of this book. I look forward to sharing it with my son for years to come!
Have you and your children read Dazzling Travis yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and let me know what you though about this one.