SAM! by Dani Gabriel


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 7
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A 9-year-old trans boy comes out to his family members, who show their love and support for him.

Sam, a boy “filled with dreams and spirit and laughter,” isn’t sure how he feels about his older sister, Maggie. She bosses him around a lot, but sometimes they have fun together riding their bikes. No one but Sam knows that he is a boy called Sam, including his sister. Everyone treats him like a girl, which makes him feel sad. When one of the kids at school upsets Sam, he confides in Maggie about who he is. With her help, he tells his family and finds happiness. Palely hued illustrations with the look of watercolor depict Sam and his family as people of color, and the characters who appear in the background at Sam’s school reflect a racially and culturally diverse world. Gabriel consistently places Sam’s feelings at the center and emphasizes that his boyhood isn’t determined by how he dresses or plays. While Gabriel acknowledges that Sam’s parents, teachers, and classmates take time to feel comfortable with Sam’s identity, the story concentrates on Sam’s emotional journey through sadness and anger to, ultimately, happiness that he can be himself rather than on the learning process of those around him. Even though Sam and his sister don’t always get along, her support for her brother is unflinching and heartening, and their relationship becomes closer because of it.

A coming-out story radiating warmth and joy. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-9996584-3-7
Page count: 52pp
Publisher: Penny Candy
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2019