Jacob’s Room to Choose is by the team of Jacob’s New Dress and is a needed book for the issue of non-conforming children and the public rest room.
Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman and Chris Case (illustrator) in Jacob’s New Dress tell the story of a young boy, Jacob, who is based on the Hoffman’s son. Jacob likes to dress in dresses and wants to go to school this way one day. With this new book, we are dealing with the issue that people might be accepting of Jacob choice of clothing, but he still needs to use the restroom and people might be a bit less understanding there. When he goes into the boy’s room, the older kids tell him to get out, mistaking him for a girl. The same thing happens to Jacob’s friend Sophie. When she goes into the girl’s room she is told to also leave as she has a stereotypical boy look. Their teacher helps them talk to the class about “what is a boy or girl” and through that, they start a campaign that states: “I have to pee, let me be!” to make the bathrooms available to all.
Based on issues many non-conforming people have faced (Hoffman’s son was threatened in a public bathroom once, due to his long hair and dress) this book is not overly preachy but does not stray from its messy. It is in almost “in your face” but not “over the edge” with the message. As many “issue” books, you probably will not change your opinion, but it will start a discussion for the classroom setting and possibly with your own children.