10 Gender-Bending Children's Books You'll Love

By: Daniel Villarreal

William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow (1972)

When young William asks his dad for a ball, his dad gets him a basketball and a train set instead (thanks a lot, dad). But luckily William kicks ass at sports and constructing train depots (very manly), and eventually dad caves and buys him a doll — because after all, one day he will have a kid of his own and a doll will teach him how to care for it. Bleccch!

While the book is definitely a heteronormative product of its time, young William's desire to have a doll will resonate with anyone who has ever longed to play with "opposite-gendered" toys like, for instance, an Easy Bake Oven.

The book also got turned into a musical track on the groundbreaking 1972 children's album Free to Be You and Me.