[Notes: Good for ages 4-8, anti toxic masculinity]
It's Levi's first day at a new school, and he's scared. His father tries to comfort Levi by telling him "Big boys don't cry." Though the father immediately understands his misstep, he can't find the words to comfort his son, and Levi leaves for school, still in need of reassurance.
Fortunately, along his walk to school, Levi sees instance after instance of grown men openly expressing their sadness and fear. His learned mantra, "Big boys don't cry," slowly weakens, and by the time he's at school he releases a tear. Once he's there, things aren't so bad after all, and on his walk home he sees everyone he's encountered earlier, feeling better now that they expressed their emotions. Upon his arrival home, he finds his father waiting for him on their porch, tears in his eyes. His father is able to admit that he was scared and the two embrace, closer than before.
Jonty Howley's gorgeous debut paints the world we wish existed for our boys, and offers a path there! This story is the truest interpretation of the notion that we should "let boys be boys": let them express the full range of their emotions, vulnerable parts and all!
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