Book Review: My Sister, Daisy by Ardia Karlsson

(I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So thank you NetGalley and thank you Raintree Publishers!)

My, Sister Daisy is a children’s picture book told from the point of view of a little boy whose younger sibling comes out as trans. Daisy’s whole family are loving and affirming, including the protagonist. But our narrator still got some feelings to work through, like his anxiety about change and frustration when he gets it wrong with Daisy.

I really enjoyed My Sister, Daisy! The story is so sweet and wholesome and the illustrations by Linus Curci were adorable. I absolutely loved the writing style, which is presented as the unnamed narrator addressing Daisy. He describes his love for her and their close relationship (the dream of parents everywhere!) and is just the perfect big brother. I love that he’s the first person Daisy tells (awww!) and the effort he makes to understand and be a good brother. Their parents are also amazing and the book is full of important messages about gender that all little kids need to hear (“Daisy is the same person. And now we understand what to call her and who she is inside.”). I honestly welled up, it was so touching. My Sister, Daisy truly models the ideal response to a child’s coming out, while being rooted in reality, being inspired by events in the author’s own family. According to the Author’s Note, she was especially motivated by the lack of children’s books supporting or offering role models to the siblings of transgender children. Representation is so important, both to educate and to validate people and their experiences, and that’s what My Sister, Daisy does so well. The narrator may be a great brother, but he still has difficulty sometimes adjusting to Daisy’s true identity, especially worrying over potential change in their relationship. It was great to see Adria Karlsson work through those worries, while still affirming Daisy the entire time.

As a side note, it was also great to see some picture book representation of an interracial family (black dad, white mum) and of loving, present parental figures (I especially love to see a storybook dad doing the emotional work of comforting his son and generally being a nurturing role model.) I also liked that the narrator introduces and explains the word “transgender” and even brings up non-binary people at one point in a way simple enough for young children to understand. I think this book would be very reassuring to trans children and their family members and would be a great addition to any home, school or nursery/kindergarten library.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Best Line:

I knew I was a boy. I didn’t have to think about it. I thought it must be the same for you. If you knew you were a girl, you knew it.

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