Téo loves to dance, but ballet class makes him nervous.
He and his parents practice their moves to both bhangra and cumbia, both of which are very different from ballet. In the studio, Téo nervously takes his place on the floor. During stretches, a boy makes fun of Téo’s tutu, but their teacher, Ms. Lila, immediately comes to Téo’s defense. For the rest of his first class and during the classes that follow, Téo loses himself in the joy of learning a new skill. The more he practices, the more confident and talented he feels. As the recital approaches, Téo is more and more excited to get on stage—until the costumes arrive. Téo picks out a shirt and pants, just like all the other boys. But he also takes home a lavender tutu, which is the costume he really wants to wear. On recital day, when he has to make a decision, Téo’s family encourages him to wear the clothes that he likes best, emphasizing that at times, being our authentic selves requires us all to be brave. This lyrical book bursts with sincerity without ever feeling preachy or forced. Téo’s parents and his teacher embrace Téo exactly as he is, infusing the story with love and triumph and ensuring that Téo is never reduced to the oppression he faces. Brown-skinned, curly-haired Téo is biracial, with a South Asian mom and Latinx dad, and his enthusiasm leaps from Marley’s artwork on every page. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
A gender-affirming picture book with a lovable, indomitable star.(Picture book. 3-7)