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JACK (NOT JACKIE) by Erica Silverman


by Erica Silverman ; illustrated by Holly Hatam

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4998-0731-8
Publisher: Little Bee Books

A big sister learns a lesson about loving her transgender brother for who he is.

Susan dreams of playing forest fairies and explorers with a little sister. She loves to hear her baby sibling giggle. However, as the baby grows up, Susan struggles to accept their differences in self-expression. Despite their mother’s gentle admonition to let her sibling be, Susan thinks it’s wrong that the person she sees as a sister wants to wear clothes from the boys’ section. After her sibling asks for a short haircut, she feels betrayed when Jack (not Jackie) tells the family he’s Susan’s brother. Remembering how much she loved Jack as a baby helps Susan accept the new transition. Narrated in first person, the story focuses on the feelings of the cisgender sister of a transgender boy. For most of the text, Susan calls her brother “Jackie” and uses she/her pronouns to refer to him. While Susan struggles, their mother offers refreshing acceptance throughout the story with reassurances such as “We wear what feels right.” The characters adhere to gender stereotypes, but the author’s note offers a less binary discussion of gender identity. Illustrations that combine digital line drawing and realistic textures accompany the text and depict Susan, Jack, and their parents as white.

Although this picture book provides a necessary message of acceptance and representation for transgender boys, the narrative remains rooted in a cisgender perspective.

(further reading) (Picture book. 3-7)