So, recently, when the Tiny Tornado, age 7, asked how a friend got pregnant, we read through most of It's So Amazing together. He found it fascinating. But he also had a criticism of it, and he asked me to please write to the people who made the book to tell them about it. He asked me to use his real name, but also tell them that he is the Tiny Tornado.
This is the letter I sent:
Dear folks at Candlewick Press:
Recently, we learned that some friends are having a baby. My 7-year-old son Y (also known as the Tiny Tornado) asked about how a person gets pregnant, and so I pulled It’s So Amazing off the shelf so we could read about it. Y enjoyed the specific, detailed information about how egg and sperm come together, and the illustrations of a developing fetus that let him imagine what our friends’ baby looks like now, and will look like over the coming months.
On page 11, though, the book says, “every boy is born with the parts that will make millions of sperm.” Y immediately said, “That’s not right!” He knows this because, based on his anatomy, we mistakenly believed he was a girl, until he informed us, very clearly and as soon as he could, that he was a boy. Y is a boy who was not born with the parts to make sperm, and he wishes that your book said that there are boys like him, and girls who were not “born with the parts that store millions of eggs.”
We had the older edition of the book, but learned that there was an updated 15th anniversary edition. We were disappointed to find that the newer edition contained almost no substantive changes; and that it still said “all boys” and “all girls.” TT said, “Mom, you have to write them a letter and tell them they’re wrong.” I promised him I would.
We love these books for the respect they have for kids, for their commitment to complete factual information, and for the fearlessness of the illustrations. We will keep reading them, discussing the ways they do and do not apply to members of the family. But TT wanted to let you know that he exists.
I read him this letter and he approved it.
mom of the Tiny Tornado
|A recent picture of a characteristically humble TT.|
p.s. If you want to know about how Y told us he was a boy, and how we came to understand him better, you can read this short 2013 article from the Quaker magazine Friends Journal.