When Aidan Became a Brother Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Keywords: 
Diversity
Empathy
Families
Kindness
by Kyle Lukoff - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to explore how we like to be seen and how we show respect for and believe in others.

Aidan knows what it feels like to not quite belong. When he can fully express his true self, he helps his parents give his new baby sibling a wonderful welcome. This is a story about protecting and cherishing the uniqueness of each child. It is also the story of a child who was thought to be a girl at birth but was really a boy. His family is loving and supportive of the journey in a way that shows us all how to love and cherish each other's journeys, especially the potentially unfamiliar journey of child who is transgender.

Before Reading 

ASK: How is your family just like other families? How is your family different from other families? What do you think is the most important thing about families?

SHOW: Look at the details of the picture on the cover. What clues do you have about the people and the story?

CONNECT: From the cover, we can't tell if Aidan is a girl or boy. Some girls wear dresses and frilly stuff while other girls like to wear jeans and play rough. Some boys love trucks and baseball while others love wearing fingernail polish. Since there is not just one way to be a girl or a boy, everyone can be their best self and be welcomed for who they are and belong in a loving community.    

During Reading 

ASK: The text reads, "It was hard to tell his parents what he knew about himself, but it was even harder not to." What do you think was hard about telling his parents? Why would it be harder not to tell?

SHOW: Look at the page with the baby name book and paints. What do you notice about all the names Aidan is trying out. Why do you think Aidan likes these names? What is he trying to do that is really kind?

CONNECT: This story is about a transgender boy. Everyone thought he was a girl when he was born. Aidan soon discovered that he wasn't just a rough-playing girl, but he was actually a boy. Not everyone understood him, but with the help of people who listened kindly, Aidan was encouraged to be himself and to know he belongs fully as himself in his family. What are some things we can do to make sure the world is as loving as Aidan's family?

After Reading 

ASK: In what ways is Aidan acting generously? 

SHOW: Look at the author note, and the pictures and descriptions of the author and illustrator. What do you notice? How can a book make a better world?

CONNECT: Aidan wanted to make sure his baby sibling never felt the pain of not belonging. Maybe you can help others never feel the pain of not belonging. How can you welcome others into a loving community?

Activities 

  1. Write a list of names that aren't specifically for a boy or girl. Aidan chose names from nature. Do any of the names you chose come from nature? 
  2. Make a set of decorated bookmarks to give away. Write messages of belonging and love on them: "You are important." "The world is a better place because of you." Give them away to friends and people in your community.
  3. Go to a Pride event in your town to meet others and celebrate the diversity of people in your community.  
  4. Read the book Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman. In this book, Casey is a boy who likes sparkly things. This bothers his sister until some kids start teasing Casey by saying boys can't wear skirts and nail polish and sparkly things. After his sister stands up for Casey, they enjoy their common love for sparkly things. Compare the stories and celebrate the many ways we can be different.