It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity

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Annotation: This exploration of gender identity gives children a fuller understanding of themselves and others.
Catalog Number: #257024
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Grigni, Noah,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-250-30295-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9379-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-250-30295-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9379-7
Dewey: 305.3
LCCN: 2018038732
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
This expansive, straightforward framing of gender emphasizes curiosity, joy, and positive self-expression.In Thorn's uplifting picture-book debut, young readers meet four children: Ruthie, a thin, transgender girl with light brown skin; Xavier, Ruthie's cisgender brother, who also has brown skin; Alex, a pale-skinned, round-bodied kid who is "both a boy and a girl"; and JJ, a brown-skinned child who uses a wheelchair and who is "neither a boy nor a girl." Through plain, intentional language, Thorn normalizes each child's gender identity and skillfully introduces the multifaceted concept of nonbinary gender: "Just like there are many different ways to be a boy or a girl, there are many different ways to be non-binary—too many to fit in a book!" As the main characters move through their vibrant neighborhood, families and children are portrayed with a prismatic array of gender expressions, skin colors, and physical features. Nonbinary illustrator Grigni's full-bleed images are magical in their jewel-toned palette. Among gender-centered picture books, this one stands out for its dazzling #ownvoices art and its simple yet nuanced phrasing—particularly when Ruthie shares her true gender with her family, and her parents (an interracial couple) respond with a loving group hug. "Oops! Ruthie was a girl all along—they just didn't know it at first." Giving kids and adults a hopeful model for discussing (and embracing) one another's gender is just one of the gifts offered by this valuable narrative. Exceptional. (glossary, resources, note on pronouns, author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-9)
Publishers Weekly
Thorn offers an inclusive primer about gender that integrates vocabulary words and definitions into the text (-Non-binary is a helpful word that can describe a kid who doesn-t feel exactly like a boy or a girl-). Illustrations feature gender-expansive individuals going to school, making art, and spending time with family, normalizing the expressions. With heavy lines and textured forms, the images by #OwnVoices illustrator Grigni are a blend of jewel-toned shapes with textured lines reminiscent of block prints. The spirit of free expression and creativity infuses every spread of this inclusive exploration. Ages 4-8. (May)
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 2-This elegant picture book is a welcome addition to the world of LGBTQ+ publications for young readers. Thorn explains the concepts of cisgender, transgender, and non-binary in simple, accessible language. Thorn depicts each of these gender identities with realistically diverse examples, including a non-binary child who identifies as both a boy and a girl and a non-binary child who identifies as neither. When Ruthie, a transgender girl, tells her family that she is really a girl, they hug her. The text below the heartwarming illustration says: "Oops! Ruthie was a girl all alongthey just didn't know it at first." The well-written story is enhanced by illustrations rendered in watercolor, gouache, and ink. Grigni seizes every opportunity for detail and uses colors that are vibrant and summery with jewel-toned greens, teals, magentas, and purples. A glossary expands on some of the terms explained throughout the book and brings in new ones, such as sex assigned at birth and intersex. The author includes a note about pronouns and resources for kids and adults. VERDICT With its captivating illustrations and simple language with word repetition, this book would be an exceptional read-aloud for classrooms or storytime, or for an adult reading one-on-one with a child. A must-have for all libraries serving children.-Shira Pilarski, Farmington Community Library, MI
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
This expansive, straightforward framing of gender emphasizes curiosity, joy, and positive self-expression.In Thorn's uplifting picture-book debut, young readers meet four children: Ruthie, a thin, transgender girl with light brown skin; Xavier, Ruthie's cisgender brother, who also has brown skin; Alex, a pale-skinned, round-bodied kid who is "both a boy and a girl"; and JJ, a brown-skinned child who uses a wheelchair and who is "neither a boy nor a girl." Through plain, intentional language, Thorn normalizes each child's gender identity and skillfully introduces the multifaceted concept of nonbinary gender: "Just like there are many different ways to be a boy or a girl, there are many different ways to be non-binary—too many to fit in a book!" As the main characters move through their vibrant neighborhood, families and children are portrayed with a prismatic array of gender expressions, skin colors, and physical features. Nonbinary illustrator Grigni's full-bleed images are magical in their jewel-toned palette. Among gender-centered picture books, this one stands out for its dazzling #ownvoices art and its simple yet nuanced phrasing—particularly when Ruthie shares her true gender with her family, and her parents (an interracial couple) respond with a loving group hug. "Oops! Ruthie was a girl all along—they just didn't know it at first." Giving kids and adults a hopeful model for discussing (and embracing) one another's gender is just one of the gifts offered by this valuable narrative. Exceptional. (glossary, resources, note on pronouns, author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-9)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Ruthie, a transgender girl, and her cisgender brother, Xavier, are the first two characters readers meet in this ambitious book for the youngest readers about gender identity. Next up is Alex, who is both a boy and a girl; and here comes JJ, who is neither. Together, these four kids epitomize the sometimes bewildering multiplicity of gender identities kids may encounter in their real lives, for, as Thorn writes, "There are a never-ending number of ways to be yourself in the world." Thorn does a generally good job of dealing with these, er, thorny concepts, though r full clarity e book begs adult involvement in the reading experience. The adults will be helped by the presence of an appended glossary, an additional resource list, and a note on pronouns; speaking of which, the character JJ employs the gender-nonspecific they and them. Grigni's boldly outlined but rather flat pictures ecuted in watercolor, gouache, and ink ll help kids conceptualize the terms they're encountering. The illustrators also expand the text by depicting gay and lesbian characters, boys wearing skirts, mixed-race couples, a character in a wheelchair, and an assortment of races and ethnicities. Obviously, as the song has it, we're living in a big, wide wonderful world. And this book is a welcome addition to it, as it fills a large gap in the literature.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. Written by the mother of a transgender child and illustrated by a non-binary transgender artist, this picture book provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity. Full color.


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