Sam knew she was not quite the same as the other girls, and she was not sure why. Sam has always felt like she doesn’t quite fit. She doesn’t like dresses and their swish-swish on her legs; she doesn’t like playing with dolls either, and she’d much rather climb on the jungle gym with the boys during their lunch. Although she’s not sure why she’s different, she knows that she is. Then one day Sam learns something that completely transforms their world…
We definitely need more books like this! All children should have characters they can relate to in literature. This is such a wonderful, positive, sensitive book for any child who is struggling with their gender identity or any children want to know what being transgender means. I really hope we see more LGBT+ friendly children's books from this author. I can't recommend Sam the Transformer highly enough.
Sam The Transformer is a vital introduction to the transgender experience for young children and adults alike. Navigating a world divided by a binary gender system which is reinforced by the uniforms, social conformity and expectations of school is a daunting - sometimes traumatising - experience for kids who identify not only as trans, but as any kind of "Other". Sam provides children who feel they do not belong with the language to find acceptance in an often intolerant world, and gives insight into the mind of a child embarking on life's journey with a minority identity. Hopefully with more stories like this finding an audience, children will understand that their peers' difference makes them unique, not strange; children who don't conform to the unspoken expectations placed on them will not feel ashamed of their identities; and parents will be able to see through the eyes of their children at any stage of their transformation into free adults.
One of the most powerful lines in this book is 'I wish she would call me Sam'. Written in a simple form, it expresses the confusion and difficulties faced by someone who feels uncomfortable by the way other people perceive them. I have now read Sam the Transformer twice and I believe that while on one level it is a nice little story about a person discovering their true self, it is also packed with brilliant lessons that are presented in a subtle way. The fact that the nurse explains that it is 'normal' and 'ok' to feel the way Sam feels and the joy expressed by Sam herself when she is finally able to understand herself are beautifully expressed in the text and through the illustrations. It is a good introduction to the transgender experience and creates a safe environment for children to explore LGBTQ+ issues. Apart from that it also questions the binary divisions of the world we live in and challenges the establishments that marginalise or silence those who do not fit their strict moulds. One cannot stress enough the need for representation in fiction - especially in children's literature- and this is what makes Sam the Transformer a great book.
What a fantastic book. My stepdaughter (9yrs old) found it fascinating and taught her about how being transgender can come about. She is already so open minded as had a mummy and step mum :) . In her own words “this books amazing” - it’s great it explains how people can feel not to fit in , but it’s ok to feel this way.
I would suggest all parents read this book to their little ones and teach the next generation that it’s ok too be different.
5 star all the way x
A great little book! My eight year old son did point out though, that not all girls wear dresses, does this mean they are transgender? Or as his uncle is a firefighter with "girls" who work alongside them, are they transgender too? It's great that the book can raise awareness about transgender.
Awesome!!! This is a beautiful affirming story about Sam who is beginning to understand who they truly are. The book sensitively takes you on Sam's emotional journey as they try to navigate feelings of gender dysphoria. It celebrates difference, identity and authenticity. I highly recommend this book to children, parents/caregivers and educators.
Firstly, the size of the booklet is adequate for a young child; it also has a nice feel. The cover page shows an androgynous child but colored in a variety of different blues (with reference to boys – I would suggest?). The title also suggests subtly the content of book otherwise there is no real reference to transgender issues only Sam The Transformer. It is only when we start to read the story that we understand what the main theme is.
The font was easy to read; a nice design and size for children. Combined on the next page with a colorful image that relates to the text. Armstrong introduces the protagonist; a young child called Sam and her issue of ‘feeling different’ from everyone else but she does not understand why. Most Transgender children will identify with Sam at one level or another whether it is about fitting in, how they dress, play, or how they view themselves when they grow up. What is also nice is that Armstrong has touched on some of the psychological issues such as coping mechanisms, the need for education and how they can learn to express themselves. It is a gentle book that can help a young child to come to terms with the fact that they are transgender but what is important is that it educates the young child to be their true selves.
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