Book Reviews · LGBTQ

Review: Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman

Erica Silverman’s Jack (Not Jackie) is a charming and essential story about change and acceptance from the perspective of a child. This early elementary grade picture book (suitable for pre-schoolers) features Susan and her family. From a young age, her little brother Jack begins expressing himself and shows his family he is not in fact the girl they all think he is.

Photo credit: Erica Silverman

Jack begins to be unhappy about things that Susan likes—playing girl games—wearing girl clothes. When allowed to shop for himself, he picks out clothes from the boy section. This makes Susan very unhappy.

“But ties are for boys!” “We wear what feels right, ” says Mama. “Remember?” “But it’s wrong!” I say. “Not wrong, Susu,” says Mama. Just different.”

As Jack begins to express his gender identity more, his family comes to a place of acceptance. Susan learns that her brother is precisely who he has always been. Jack (Not Jackie) is a beautiful story of the struggle to understand, the emotional turmoil that can go along with that understanding, and the love and support that results in the end.

“Jackie. Jack. The same big, round eyes. My sister. My brother. It’s okay, either way.”

Erica Silverman is a librarian, and she writes a beautiful author’s note at the end of the book. In it, she talks about the need for a picture book about gender identity. Because “research shows that children start identifying with and expressing their gender identity as early as two years old.” And how “It’s important to talk with children about gender openly, honestly, accurately, and without judgment.”

At 40 pages, Jack (Not Jackie) is an easy read and is perfect for your at-home or classroom library. For further reading, the back of the book includes books, articles, online resources, and picture books. The publisher, Little Bee Books, is an imprint of Bonnier Publishing USA. Through a partnership with GLAAD, a portion of the proceeds of all sales are donated to accelerating LGBTQ acceptance.

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