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About the Author: Cheryl Kilodavis is a is a native Seattle-ite mixed with African-American and Caucasian heritage. She is wife to her high school sweetheart, and mother of two sons. With deep roots and connections in the Pacific Northwest, Cheryl's passions include learning and exploring through community, reading for continuous lifelong learning, addressing large scale issues for the next generation, and building long-term relationships with people representing all walks of life.
A social and business entreprenuer, Cheryl is a Principal of KD Talent LLC, Founder of Authentici.org, and a newly published author of My Princess Boy. Cheryl attended both public (Eckstein Middle School and Garfield High School) and a private schools (Villa Academy) in Seattle. Cheryl has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Marketing from the University of the Pacific and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She has a Leadership Executive MBA from Seattle University and is a selected member of Beta Gamma Sigma.
I myself have a transgender child so I am always on the lookout for books that reflect real children (as opposed to animals) who embrace and embody something other than social norms and are framed in a positive light. I wanted sooo much to love this book. I do not regret purchasing this book, if only to support the mom of another trans child who is so accepting of her child. I follow the author on Facebook and I support her intentions and message 150%, BUT...
I have to say there were a few things that I really had a problem with regarding this book. The first and most obvious one was that none of the characters in this book have faces illustrated. Not only that sort of creep me out, I really couldn't for the life of me understand WHY faces were not drawn onto the bodies. If that was lost on ME, I have to think that it is lost on the children who read it.
The other thing i had a problem with was that this book was clearly written by a mom who loves and adores and supports her kid. While that message is endearing and wonderful, again, I have to wonder whether kids would find it interesting at all to basically be reading a MOTHER'S story. It would have been so much more "relatable" to a child who is going through this if the book was written from the child's perspective. If I were a kid, I'd kind of be like "Who cares what you think, Mom? It means nothing to ME." Kids are still developmentally speaking living in their own experiences from their own perspectives. So in that regard, I think this book WILDLY missed the mark.
I have this book in my library, along with several others, which I have similar criticisms about. I would just love it if someone would write a book FROM A KID'S PERSPECTIVE (NOT a penguin's or a ducks, or a...) about what it's like to live outside the norms of society. Hm.. maybe that will be my next project!
Rarely does such a controversial subject and memoir converge in a children's book. However with this issue, a children's book is the place to address it. As a Black gay man who was once bullied for being 'different' way back in the Jurassic, I feel so proud of Dyson's parents for supporting his natural creative development instead of attempting to stifle it, or force it into society's template of what all little boys should be.
With many black fathers still not understanding that not all little boys dream of firetrucks and footballs, not all little girls dream of Barbie dolls and easy bake ovens, Dyson could have so easily have been a sad statistic on the news about a child who couldn't take it anymore (or brutalized by an angry father trying to make him more manly). No, Dyson's spirit wasn't crushed. Instead, Dyson will never doubt his parents love and support for whatever it is he does with his life. And what more could any kid ask?
Dyson's future looks bright! The fact the 'My Princess Boy' exists means a brighter future for all little boys and girls who are unapologetically unique. I'm more proud of this mother and father than I can even express. This book is a precious little gem. It should be in every grade school across the country. ~
I am an elementary school counselor and so excited to have this book on my shelf. I applaud author and mother Cheryl Kilodavis for writing such an important and beautiful book. Kids learn stereotypes at a very young age. When we put someone in a stereotypical role, out the door goes acceptance and understanding and in comes judgment and division.
My Princess Boy is an encouraging story that helps kids not take part in stereotyping behavior. One of the important parts of this book is when the put-downs and teasing happen. It's very hurtful. Right away students said, "That is not okay to bully him!"
The author writes: If you see a Princess Boy... Will you laugh at him? Will you call him a name? Will you play with him? Will you like him for who he is?
WOW. Powerful. I didn't even have to create discussion questions. They are right there in the pages. I'm so thankful I am able to use literature like this to break down stereotypes. Lets connect kids now at a young age so they don't have to experience pain or hurt each other as they grow up. It doesn't matter if boys like pink, if girls play with trucks, or if boys want to play with dolls. All that matters is that we are loved, respected, and accepted for who we are inside and out.
This is a beautiful, heartfelt book written by a mother about her wonderfully true-to-self child. He is a boy who loves sparkles and lace and everything pretty. Why not?! The book is honest about the stumbling blocks this presents for him (and his mother) in today's society. It is written simply with lovely illustrations. I have watched adults melt as they have read it. And children seem to respond in such a positive, accepting way. Afterall, the Princess Boy is being himself, acting out of an inner exuberance that he joyfully shares with other. He is not harming anyone and he, himself, is not judging others. He has an older, athletic brother whom he loves to wrestle with and play soccer with. This is a must-have book for all primary school libraries. The message is about acceptance and love, not judgement and limitations on a child's spirit. It is an excellent way to discuss "differentness" with one's children.
As a parent, I worry about the bullying and hard knocks that come with my children growing up. Hopefully this book will encourage dialogue around the labels we place on our children, and the obsolete parameters we wrap around them.
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