“Oliver Button Is a Sissy” is the story of a young boy who is not interested in sports or “things that boys are supposed to do”. This story by Tomie dePaola describes how Oliver likes to dance, paint, walk through the woods and read instead of play sports, and how he continued to do what he likes despite being teased by his school mates.
I was drawn to this book because it revisits gender roles. This book shows that boys don’t always have to play sports; they can also participate in dance and other activities. The media almost always covers girls’ gender roles and how they are expected to participate in certain activities and put other things aside, but seldom do we hear about the pressure put on boys.
As a future teacher I would read this book to an audience of Kindergarten to first graders. I believe it would help children realize there is no such thing as a boy activity or a girl activity; anyone can do anything no matter what their gender is. Even though this book is about a boy, girls can still relate to the story because it has a universal theme that speaks about self acceptance, even when no one else accepts you. This book would also teach children to pursue any activity they enjoy, even if they are going to be teased about it, because the joy a person gets from doing something s/he loves overpowers anything else.
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September 25th, 2010.