Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: As a Boy

Publish October 12, 2016

Plan International’s previous book, Because I am a Girl: I Can Change the World (2014), describes global initiatives that fight for the rights of young women. The humanitarian organization invites males into the dialogue with their companion book, As a Boy.  Striking, full-page photographs show boys going about their daily activities.  In Haiti, a young athlete balances a soccer ball on his forehead; in Niger, male students enthusiastically raise their hands to answer a question posed during class; and in Benin, a child smiles while he relaxes outside.  The harsher realities of being born a male are also explored, such as the haunting image of a child soldier in South Sudan brandishing a wooden gun, and young boys in Egypt struggling under the weight of hard, physical labour. The arresting snapshots are paired with first-person, declarative statements that cut to the heart of inequalities faced by children around the world: “As a boy, there will be times when I am very lucky.  I will be able to go to school and learn each day … while my sisters must work and wish for an education … because they are “just” girls.”  With immediacy, and a sense of urgency, the text conveys the message that being born a boy brings privilege, but as brothers, sons, nephews and future fathers, it also brings a responsibility to advocate for the rights of females in their lives.  As global citizens, it is important to learn and care about the world around us, and As a Boy will spark much thought and conversation.

As a Boy

Plan International
Second Story Press
ISBN 13: 978-1-77260-016-2

Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and QuireSchool Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.

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