Scott Stuart, My Shadow is Purple, Larrikin House, May 2022, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781922503817
This is the follow-up to the gender-affirming My Shadow is Pink (our review is here) in which a little boy learns to take pride in his love of tutus and other ‘girl’ things that don’t seem quite so appealing to his blokey dad. In this book, the main character identifies with some ‘girl’ things and some ‘boy’ things. In a strange climax, featuring a school dance, the child’s teacher attempts to force them to choose which side of the gender binary they align with.
Overwhelmed and sad, the main character trudges away but is saved by an extroverted child prancing into view proclaiming their shadow is yellow. The child explains: There’s more than two colours our shadows can be. Suddenly, there are children with many different colours – blue, pink and purple, and shadows called ‘other’.
I was privileged to be able to consult with my non-binary teen while reviewing this book. They pointed out that the main character’s suit was lined in yellow and purple which are the colours of the non-binary flag. And overall, they thought the story was a good starting point for exploring gender diversity with kids.
Hopefully books like this will help to create a smoother future for gender-diverse people.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher