TEXT

Storm

“Storm” is a nonfiction story written by Tamera Bryant for publication as a Perspectives for a Diverse America central text in 2013. 
Author
Tamera Bryant
Grade Level

 

Once upon a time — but not too very long ago — there was a man and a woman. They lived in a yellow house. They were happy together, but they wanted their family to be bigger.

First they had a son, and they named him Kio. The people brought him blue clothes and trucks and footballs. They looked in the crib to see the baby boy. They oohed and ahhed and said, “Look at the big, strong boy. He’s so handsome.”

Then one day, the parents said, “We are going to have another baby!” Kio was very happy. The people were happy, too.

The parents brought the new baby home. They said, “This is our baby boy, and his name is Jazz.” The people brought blue clothes and trucks and footballs. They looked in the crib to see the baby boy. They oohed and ahhed and said, “Look at that handsome boy. He’s so strong.”

Then one day, the parents said, “We are going to have another baby!” Kio and Jazz were very happy. The people were happy, too.

Then the parents brought the new baby home. They said, “This is our new baby, and the baby’s name is Storm.” The people came to meet Storm. They looked in the crib to see the baby. They said, “Oh, my, isn’t he. . . isn’t she. . . ? Which is it? Is he strong and handsome, or is she pretty and sweet?”

And the parents said, “Yes, Storm is beautiful and strong and sweet. Thank you.”

The people were confused. “But is Storm a boy or a girl?” they asked. “Should we bring blue clothes and a truck or pink clothes and a doll?”

split screen of kid faces and toys
Illustration by James Gulliver Hancock

The parents smiled and said, “Bring blue clothes and pink clothes. Bring green and yellow clothes and purple, polka-dotted rattles. Bring a truck and a doll, a football and a drum. One day Storm will decide which things Storm likes best.”

The people were still confused. They said, “This is nonsense.”

But the parents smiled. And Kio smiled. And Jazz smiled. And Storm gurgled.

A few months later, the people came again. They watched Kio ride his purple bike. They watched Jazz paint pictures and hang them on the wall. They watched Storm play with rattles and soft toys. “Now will you tell us?” they asked. “Is Storm a boy or a girl?”

The parents smiled and said, “No, thank you.” And Kio smiled. And Jazz smiled. And Storm babbled and cooed.

A few months later, the people came again. They watched Kio and Jazz make paper bag puppets. They watched Storm crawl on the rug. They admired Storm’s wispy blonde hair and bright blue eyes. “Now will you tell us?” they asked. “Is Storm a boy or a girl?”

And the parents said, “No, thank you.” And Kio smiled. And Jazz smiled. And Storm squealed with delight.

And the people said, “This is nonsense. When will this end?”

And the parents smiled and said, “Here is another question: Why does it matter? When can a person just be a person?”

And the people looked at each other and blinked. They thought about what the parents had said. And some of them started to understand.

And Kio and Jazz and Storm turned on the music and started to dance. Kio spun around and around. Jazz twirled and hopped. Storm held onto the coffee table and bounced to the music. And the people watched and smiled.

Source
Copyright © Teaching Tolerance.
Text Dependent Questions
Question
How is the way the parents introduce Storm to others different from the way they introduced Kio and Jazz?
Answer
The parents told people Kio and Jazz were boys, but they did not divulge Storm’s sex.
Question
Why do the people think it is nonsense that the parents won’t talk about Storm’s sex?
Answer
The people are confused and don’t know what kinds of toys or colors of clothes to bring.
Question
How do Kio, Jazz and Storm feel about their parents’ decision not to divulge Storm’s sex?
Answer
They do not seem to care. They smile and dance.
Question
What do you think the parents mean when they ask the people, “Why does it matter? When can a person just be a person”?
Answer
They don’t think it should matter what sex Storm is. People should treat him or her the same, no matter what, and Storm’s sex shouldn’t determine whether he or she wears blue clothes or pink clothes. Clothes are clothes.