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🟢 Kid Lit Book Review: When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

When Aidan Became a Brother written by Kyle Lukoff

A Kidlit Book Review by MaKenna Pierre,

edited by Zapoura Newton-Calvert

"Aidan knew how to love someone,

and that was the most important part of being a brother"

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff follows the story of Aidan, a young transgender boy, and his understanding of himself and becoming a big brother. When Aidan’s mom announces she is pregnant,  Aidan quickly becomes very worried about his younger sibling potentially struggling with society’s pressures around identity.  Although Aidan is young, he knows people have certain opinions on who he is, but he feels supported by his parents along the way. After a talk with his mom about his fears, Aidan comes to the conclusion that he can’t prevent everything for his sibling, but as long as they are loved, that is all that matters.

Author Kyle Lukoff is a transgender man; this gives him a connection to the character of Aidan and what he goes through in the story. The illustrator, Kaylani Juanita, focuses her work on activism, empowerment of people of color, and LGBTQ+ people, essentially all the themes of this book. As a person of color, she also has an opportunity to see herself through Aidan.

When Aidan Became a Brother provides a message that it is good to be honest and be yourself -- you are not alone. Transgender identity is presented as a natural human experience.  One of the most powerful aspects of this book is the way that Aidan and his family learn together, with his family listening to Aidan and shifting to make sure that both he and the new baby are welcomed in their family in a way that offers belonging and deep love for exactly who they are.  It is important to note, however, that not every transgender child/person receives the level of acceptance that Aidan does. I recommend When Aidan Became a Brother with the acknowledgment of the slightly rose-tinted glasses view it could give children, and I suggest reading it in conjunction with other books based on the topic of transgender experiences as no two stories are the same and unfortunately not everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community has the same support as Aidan.



Makenna Pierre was a student review writer working with Reading Is Resistance at Portland State University in partnership with Teaching for Change's Social Justice Books (SJB) Project.


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