Fuse 8 n’ Kate: When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff, ill. Kaylani Juanita
Here at the Fuse 8 n’ Kate Podcast, we have a rule. It’s a simple one, established since the start of the broadcast. Essentially, we don’t like to consider books published until they’ve been on the market for 20 years or more. It’s not exactly a hard and fast rule (we’ve broken it more than a few times) but it serves as a strong guideline. Today, however, we got mad. Specifically, we got mad at Ron DeSantis and all the horrendous book banners out there who seek to rid the world of books featuring LGBTQIA+ families and children. How best to stick it to the Ron? Why not feature an author that he himself has personally singled out? Today, I decided to pull out a book with a mega-recent publication date: 2019. I do it because not only is the book important, but I consider it to be the first truly great trans picture book for kids that will reverberate for the ages. We’re talking about this beautiful baby book, When Aidan Became a Brother, and all that it entails in this episode of the podcast. Check it out.
Here’s the video I made for Tiktok that features the earrings I gave to Kate:
Full disclosure, I actually interviewed Kyle about this book back in 2019 before the book even published here. I particularly love this part: “… when I wrote that first page of AIDAN, I hit on three points: his name, his room, and his clothes. And those three points, in that order–name, room, clothes–show up consistently as Aidan is transitioning. Then when the baby enters the picture, the three points invert, and we learn about the baby’s clothes, room, and name, and then Aidan’s anxieties revolve around the clothes, room, and name, keeping that order intact. It’s something that readers might not notice consciously unless they’re looking for it, but is crucial for making the story feel like a picture book instead of a truncated short story.”
Here is a link to Kyle’s 2022 Stonewall speech. It’s one of my favorites.
Kudos to Kaylani for creating this particularly cute cat in the book. And we like how Aidan is an inadvertent bookface in that second shot.
We particularly like that it took this family time to adjust to Aidan’s transition. We also like the detail of the squirrel here just blatantly stealing some food.
Compare the before and after with Aidan’s transition. We likes how many furniture pieces have continued from one form of the bedroom to the next.
We are crazy about Aidan’s fashion choices in this book. Look at the high top sneakers with the pink frosted donut socks. Amazing.
If this whole picture book thing doesn’t work out for Kaylani, we’d happily buy these sheets tomorrow. So, y’know. Fallback plan!
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen bonnets for hair featured this casually in a picture book before or since in a picture book.
Kate’s pointed out that this is the first picture book with a person who is blind just causally being at a party. You know why we almost never see this? Because we specialize in old books! That’s why!
Betsy Recommends: My recommendation is the singing duo on Instagram called Ray_bull that combine songs brilliantly. Examples: Seven Nation Army with Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. Or Watermelon Sugar with Blinding Light. Or, my personal favorite, the Running Up that Hill by Kate Bush with Sia’s Titanium. Good stuff!
Kate Recommends: The Great Pottery Throwdown
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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