Jacob’s Room to Choose by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Published: 7th May 2019Goodreads badge
Magination Press
Illustrator: Chris Case
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

The beloved lead character from Jacob’s New Dress is back in an encouraging story about gender expression. When Jacob goes to the boys’ bathroom he is chased out because the boys think he looks like a girl because of the way he is dressed. His classmate, Sophie, has a similar experience when she tries to go to the girls’ bathroom. When their teacher finds out what happened, Jacob and Sophie, with the support of administration, lead change at their school as everyone discovers the many forms of gender expression and how to treat each other with respect.

Jacob is back and once again Sarah and Ian Hoffman have made a nice story that is about acceptance, understanding, and education. We’re introduced to Jacob’s friend Sophie, we aren’t give a backstory on this character but she is Jacob’s friend and dresses in typically masculine dress. She, like Jacob, experience problems when trying to use the bathroom.

Neither Jacob or Sophie are presented as being trans, but their different ways of expressing themselves makes them appear to others like their opposite gender which results in issues when trying to use the bathrooms at school. I loved the exercise the teacher has the class conduct because it is a basic, visual experiment that not everyone looks alike nor does it matter who uses the bathroom because everyone must go at some point. In both stories about Jacob the teacher has been a fighting force which is fantastic, even the small nudges make huge impacts and I love seeing adults so supportive and understanding.

I also love that these books are about gender expression and gender non-conformity. It fills the gap between cisgender and trans books which kids can easily understand and be educated on. The authors are writing from experience and they use this to create a heartfelt story showing that education really works and everyone deserves to feel safe and happy no matter where they are. I loved that these lessons can be taught to kids from an early age, the problems come, as the author’s message at the back states, with those who are older who haven’t been taught these messages of acceptance.

Once again Case’s illustrations help represent the message the story is trying to convey. The pictures are a mix of full page and small patches on the page but they tell the same story with a lot of emotion behind them in the character’s actions and expressions.

I’ll be interested to see if there are future books about Jacob because It’s love to see the Hoffman’s cover other situations and challenges the gender non-conforming kids will face.

You can purchase Jacob’s Room to Choose via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust


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