A Costume for Charly -- new picture book that introduces the fluidity of gender


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Gender identity is a hard concept for some to understand (and to accept). I know many people in my own generation and the generation before mine that struggle with it. I also imagine it could be a hard thing for young children to truly understand. Today I am sharing a new picture book that features a nonbinary character who is struggling to find a Halloween costume that truly expresses themself. The book is A Costume for Charly by C. K. Malone and illustrated by Alejandra Barajas. It is recommended for ages 4 to 12.

From the Publisher:

Halloween is always tricky for Charly, and this year they are determined to find a costume that showcases both the feminine and masculine halves of their identity. Digging through their costume box, they explore many fun costumes. Some are masc. Some are femme. Some are neither. But all are lacking. As trick-or-treating looms, they must think outside the box to find the perfect costume--something that will allow them to present as one hundred percent Charly.

From Me:

This book is sweet and such an interesting story. Charly struggles to find the right costume. They have tried on several costumes from Little Red Riding Hood to a vampire, yet none seem to be perfect. Finally, Charly combines some to make a unique costume perfect for them. This book is wonderful to introduce younger children to nonbinary pronouns. It is also a great book for children of any gender to remember they can be whomever they want to be.

Let's face it all children go through wanting to be or play with something that is not gender appropriate. Halloween is the perfect time to try something new. Whether it is the boy who likes to where dresses or the girl who wants to wear a suit, childhood is about experimenting and exploring. We need to get rid of our social gender norms and let kids be true to themselves. This book introduces doing just that.

I am lucky to be teaching at a school that is very accepting of gender fluidity. Teachers post their pronouns on their doors. The high school students often post them on their lockers. I actually brought this book in for one of the younger teachers and she loved it. She shared it with one of the elementary school teachers who has been looking for books with nonbinary characters to read to her class. I love that our school allows this and encourages it. I hope you will check out this wonderful book and help kids explore all the sides to themselves.