________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 9. . . .November 4, 2016


As a Boy.

Plan International.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2016.
24 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-77260-016-2.

Subject Headings:
Boys-Juvenile literature.
 Boys-Pictorial works.


Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.



Plan International, originally called Foster Parents Plan, is an international nonprofit organization established in 1937. It is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in poor countries. As a Boy, published by Second Storey Press, had been produced as a fundraiser for the agency and as a counterpoint to its ongoing campaign “Because I Am a Girl”.

      It begins as a photo essay, with a beautiful double spread of numerous baby faces. It then becomes an earnest plea for equal rights for both boys and girls. Each page shows a boy or a family at work, at play, laughing or in thought. Each page carries a single simple line, such as:

As a boy, I will be told to be a man, to work, to fight, to be brave.

     This second sentence, But as I am just a boy, sometimes I will be afraid, accompanies a photograph of a South Sudanese boy of about 10, hefting a wooden rifle almost as long as he is tall.

      And a few pages later:

Yet, as a boy, I am also a son and a brother. One day I might even be a father.
I want my mother... my sister... my daughters... all children to be free to choose
what they want to be.

     With the last phrase, readers see a crowd of joyous children spilling across a schoolyard in Bangladesh.

      The photos are colourful and clear, and I particularly liked the fact that every photo, including each baby portrait, tells readers in what country the picture was taken.

      As a Boy, which offers an opportunity to see children and families in a variety of settings and situations, could be used with primary classes discussing world geography or new learners of English. It would also useful as a springboard to conversations on gender roles.


Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - November 4, 2016
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive