A Costume for Charly | Review
A Costume for Charly
written by C.K. Malone; illustrated by Alejandra Barajas
Beaming Books, $18.99
This charming picture book explores how the bigender Charly finds a Halloween costume that’s right for them and their identity.
The fully illustrated pages allow the reader to sink into Charly’s life and challenge. Charly wants a costume that shows “they were both a boy and a girl.” They try different options until they’re able to create one for themselves.
Writer Malone is a bigender educator and advocate, while illustrator Barajas does a terrific job with the various subtleties of the different costumes. Notes at the back explain what “bigender” means and gives some resource web links.
This is the kind of small lesson that’s worth reading. Many people won’t need to think about the gender aspects of Halloween costumes—although it’s become more obvious how gendered many outfits are, particularly as more adults want costumes for holiday parties. It’s a simple question that many kids can relate to and an educational moment that’s easy to understand and sympathize with.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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