Sam is My Sister by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, illustrations by MacKenzie Haley


Sam is My Sister by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, illustrations by MacKenzie Haley. Albert Whitman & Company, 9780807506516, 2021

Format: ARC (Hardcover available March, 2021)

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+

Genre: Picture

 What did you like about the book? I absolutely loved this story-even more so when I read that it is the author’s own personal story of her family. The story begins with three brothers, Evan, Sam and Finn playing in the woods by a stream. They all love to fish, play by the river, and “blast” to the moon in their cardboard rocketship. One day, a trip to the public library changes things for the family. While Evan and Finn are getting books about space, Sam wants a book with a princess on the cover. After that, it is time to get school haircuts, but Sam does not want short hair. This continues to the first day of school when Sam wants to wear clothes more traditional for girls and a bow in his hair. As time passes, the family learns that Sam identifies as being a girl and is transgender. This revelation involves some family discussions and a few issues at school. A once non-accepting older brother now becomes Sam’s biggest supporter, especially in dealing with some of the mean kids at school. The story ends with the two brothers, and one sister, deciding that they are still people no matter their gender and they will always be there for each other.

What I really loved about this book was the support that was shown by the parents and teacher for Sam. The parents allowed Sam to express herself and the reader could see Sam getting happier each time this happened. The story did show how other children will be less understanding and I think this is important as well because this is reality. I especially loved a part in the story when Evan and Sam were drawing some pictures and Sam asked Evan to try drawing with his other hand. When Evan did this, he said that it did not feel right and he switched back to his other hand. Sam told Evan that this is how she feels-being a boy just does not feel right to her. I thought that was a great way to explain that to young children. There is also some additional information in the back of the book about the author’s personal experience which prompted the writing of this book.

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? This book can really appeal to a wide audience, maybe ages five through ten years old. It is a great tool to show tolerance and acceptance for other children on a subject which should be presented to a wide range of children.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, school guidance offices, anyone who works with children between the ages of five and ten years old.

Where would you shelve it? Picture

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, there is an important message in this story!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: January 1, 2021

This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, *Starred Review, ARC, Ashley Rhodes-Courter, Gender Identitiy, MacKenzie Haley and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.