My daughter found this book at the library and recommended it to me. I had seen it on the Young Reader’s Choice shelf (it was a Junior selection for 2008) and have had it on my radar as a book I might recommend to students moving on into Grade 4. The day Joanie Frankenhauser Became a Boy written by Francess Lantz is well suited to students in Grades 3-6.
Joanie is the youngest child in her family with two rough and tumble older brothers. At ten years old, she is hyper aware of the different expectations for boys and girls and wishes her mom wasn’t so concerned with her wearing a skirt or trying out lipgloss when she really just wants to play football. When the family moves to a new town and her name is misspelled as John instead of Joan on the class list, Joanie jumps at the chance to “try out” life as a boy. Joanie a.k.a. John soon realizes that being a boy is more challenging than just looking the part (a haircut and skater shorts help pull off the transformation). Lantz explores themes of friendship, loyalty, bravery and the social dynamics of this age group. A quick read that leaves one thinking about gender stereotypes and embracing who you really are.