Cynthia L. Copeland’s new middle-grade graphic memoir, Cub, is an intimate and atmospheric coming-of-age story that follows 12-year-old Cindy as she navigators the hormonal halls of middle-school and an informal internship at a local paper. This snapshot of author Cynthia L. Copeland’s middle-school years takes place during 1972 and 1973 and is packed with recognizable cultural references. Adult readers will likely find themselves chuckling at references to sea monkeys and trolls that younger audiences may not be able to fully appreciate. However, there is plenty of charm and relatability to keep the intended audience of eight to twelve-year-old readers engaged. Continue reading
My Mom is a Girl: A Lesson of Equality is a recent Mascot Books publication written by Andrea Lardner and illustrated by Junica.
The book focuses on the relationship of a young boy named Taj and his mother. Mother and son both have light-brown skin, rosy cheeks, big brown eyes, and dark brown hair. The story opens with mother and son reading a bedtime story about equality. Continue reading
All Families Invited (2019), written by Kathleen Goodman and illustrated by Jo Edwards, is a thoughtful look at the exclusivity of gendered school events, in this instance father-daughter dances.
The protagonist, Annabel, lives with her mother and does not have a father. Annabel soon realizes she isn’t alone. One of her friends lives with his two moms, another with an aunt and uncle; all three children are excluded from the dance. Annabel knows it isn’t right to exclude so many children and families. Continue reading
Phoenix Goes to School (2018) is written by mother and daughter team Michelle and Phoenix Finch and illustrated by Sharon Davey. The story is based on the experiences of co-author Phoenix Finch, a gender non-conforming transgender girl, as she prepares for her first day of school.
Phoenix’s gender identity is affirmed at home but she is worried about wearing a dress to school. Her supportive mother helps her process her anxiety and find the confidence to be herself. Once at school, Phoenix is accepted by her peers and makes many new friends. Continue reading
Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way (2018), written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade, is the story of a non-binary child named Jamie’s first day at a new school.
Jamie has a gender ambiguous name, appearance, and choice in play. When they arrive at their new school wearing a red and white striped top with purple pants and red shoes, their brown hair cut short, their new peers end up reading their gender through their play preferences. Continue reading
Antonio’s Card, written by Rigoberto González and illustrated by Cecilia Concepción Álvarez, was published in 2005 by Children’s Book Press, a non-profit publisher of multicultural children’s literature. The protagonist, a Latinx boy named Antonio, lives with his mother and her partner, Leslie.
Antonio’s peers make fun of Leslie, a tall woman with a boyish haircut and penchant for paint-splattered overalls. They suggest she looks “like a box of crayons exploded all over her” or “like a rodeo clown.” Antonio doesn’t share this with his mom or Leslie. Continue reading