Thursday, 24 March 2011
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis. Illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone
Published by Aladdin an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division Canada
What would you do if your child was different? Dyson Kilodavis is a 5 year old boy who has an amazing passion for dresses and all things pink and sparkly. Dyson's mom, Cheryl did what most of us would do in this situation and tried to redirect Dyson's attentions towards interests that were more socially acceptable for a male. That was, until the day that Dyson's older brother asked their mum a question. 'Why can't you just let him be happy mum?'
Dyson continued with his different style and tastes, but this time with his whole family behind him. At times when they were challenged or questioned about this, they tried to encourage acceptance but it hasn't always been easy. In many online interviews, Dyson and Cheryl can be seen discussing the issues they faced, even simple shopping trips made unpleasant due to hurtful comments by staff. To that end, Cheryl Kilodavis created 'My Princess Boy' as an aid in teaching acceptance, compassion, and the celebration of the uniqueness in each of us.
I just adored this story as soon as I heard of it. Who wouldn't? I just had to get my hands on a copy of the book and what a book this is. Within it's few pages it carries a massively impacting message about accepting the differences within the people around us. The author shares a little about each of the members of the Kilodavis family and how they interact with Dyson. She also shares a couple of negative experiences that have been experienced while out shopping, and trick-or-treating and the impact upon both mother and son.
The illustrations have a carefree and whimsical design that captures the beauty in the story of how one little boy, with the love and support of his family, and school, can grow up to be whoever he wants to be!
The world needs more books like this. In a time where so many stories are landing in the headlines about childhood bullying and the climbing rate of suicide among teens, books such as My Princess Boy can only have a positive effect as we try to spread the message that everyone, whatever their differences, should be accepted for the unique person they are. I can't express enough how much I really want to see this book succeed. It should be mandatory in all school libraries and I'd love to see a copy in every home. Such a simple yet beautiful message that needs to be shared.
More info about the book, as well as interviews featuring the Kilodavis family and the Princess Boy himself, can be found at the Author's website - http://www.myprincessboy.com/index.asp