Scott Stuart, My Shadow is Pink, Larrikin House, August 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780648728757
My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart was written in response to the author’s young son being told by his preschool peers that his favourite toy and character (Elsa from Disney’s Frozen) was “for girls”.
The story tells the story of a young boy who loves all the things that some people still stereotype as “for girls” like princesses, ponies, and dresses. This love is expressed as the boy having a ‘pink shadow’ that he wonders if he must always hide and how his father learns to understand and support his son.
Scott Stuart takes the trope of ‘blue for boys’ and ‘pink for girls’ and uses it in a powerful way. Using this device of a ‘pink shadow’ through bold, colourful illustrations, along with simple rhyming text helps to explain how a young boy expresses the loneliness of feeling different from others. It’s a clever way to express this to the intended age group (age 3-9) as it breaks complex issues into a relatable visual concept.
With important themes about gender stereotyping, My Shadow is Pink has a vital message that standing with someone to support them to be exactly who they are, is often the most powerful act we can undertake. Reading the full back story of the creation of this book is highly recommended, and there are Teaching Notes on the publisher’s website.
Reviewed by Angela Brown