Pink is for Boys (2018), written by Robb Pearlman and illustrated by Eda Kaban works to disrupt the idea that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. It does this through simple prose and bright, fun illustrations. Several colors, including pink, green, blue, and purple, are explored over a pair of two-page spreads. The first spread assures readers that x color is for girls and boys. The second spread reinforces the message.
This is a sweet and simple book. It challenges the idea that there are boy and girl colors, behaviors, or desires. But it doesn’t actually disrupt a binary sex-gender system. The racially diverse cast appears cisgender and most pairings seem to gesture towards heterosexuality. In one two-page spread, five pink-wearing pairs of children dance. All the couples appear to feature one girl and one boy. This may be an attempt to visually express similarities between boys and girls, but that’s not the only work the pairings do.
Critiques aside, I really enjoyed the book and would love to see it reproduced as a board book. It is a great way to introduce children to colors while troubling gender stereotypes at an early age. Although it is recommended for children four to seven, I can’t imagine it holding an older child’s attention that long. I’d recommend it for children two to five. And, I would recommend it! The images are fun and overall the text does a great job challenging gender stereotypes that kids start to internalize so very early!
This review is part of my “Snapshots of LGBTQ Kid Lit” project. I’m working on a book, The New Queer Children’s Literature: Exploring the Principles and Politics of LGBTQ* Children’s Picture Books, which is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Part of my research is identifying and interpreting English-language children’s picture books with LGBTQ* content published in the US and Canada between 1979 and 2019. Follow my blog to follow my journey!