Alex & Alex by Ziggy Hanaor, illustrated by Ben Javens. Cicada Books, 2022. 9781800660113
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Realistic picture book
What did you like about the book? What a fun book for illustrating gender fluidity! Alex, with black hair, is best friends with Alex, who has red hair. They have different preferences – one likes sports and the other prefers books, for instance. But they play dress up and build things together, and their differences enrich their play. After some grumpiness with each other and then alone time, they make up: “Because Alex really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really…LIKES ALEX!”
With its polka dot endpapers and bright primary colors, this cheerful book shows that gender does not matter to good friends. There are no pronouns to indicate gender (the back cover blurb reads “Alex is not a boy, and Alex is not a girl.”) and the Alexes are happy kids with no gender identifiers in clothing or otherwise. One has white skin and one has brown skin, but none of their differences matter.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 3-6. A nice addition to story time on friendship or discussion about gender.
Who should buy this book? Day care centers, elementary schools and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: March 15, 2022