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

Holt. May 2019. 40p. further reading. glossary. notes. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250302953.
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 along—they 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.

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