Written by Jason Martinez and illustrated by Karen Winchester the self-published My Mommy is a Boy (2013) is a short picture book told from the point-of-view of a little girl named Amaya whose parent is transitioning. The amateurish illustrations and use of the “she” pronoun throughout detract from the story and confused the four-year-old I shared it with. He didn’t understand why Amaya kept referring to her parent as “mommy” and using she/her/hers pronouns, since he was a man.
It is a bit jarring.
Although the author notes on the back cover that he wrote the book for his daughter to “show her that I care about how she feels and to show her how much I love her” the confusion his daughter may have experienced, confusion he tried to convey, doesn’t translate well to helping other children understand the gender transition of a parent. Continue reading
Sam!, Penny Candy Books’ upcoming release about a transgender boy’s decision to share his gender identity with his family, is thoughtfully written by Dani Gabriel and warmly illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo. The story centers on a racially ambiguous family, all with thick dark hair and tan skin warmed by yellow undertones. This makes it one of only a handful of queer children’s books to engage both racial and gender diversity through major characters. Continue reading
What Riley Wore (2019), written by Elana K. Arnold, explores the creativity and sensitivity of a nonbinary/gender creative child as they navigate everyday life from the dentist’s office to the playground. This accessible children’s picture book is colorfully and cartoonishly illustrated by Linda Davick with a touch of whimsy that doesn’t detract from the text’s realism. Continue reading
Like most children’s picture books that feature transgender children, Sophie Labelle’s 2013 publication, A Girl Like Any Other, was self-published with the help of crowdfunding. Readers are introduced to a quirky young girl who shares what it is like being transgender in this first-person-narrative which is sure to reflect many young children’s experiences. Continue reading
All I Want To Be Is Me (2011), written and illustrated by Phyllis Rothblatt, MFT, is a sweet book that affirms the value of gender diversity. Rothblatt uses brief vignettes with text taken from song lyrics as well as emotionally evocative images to communicate her celebratory message. Some of the racially diverse gender creative children depicted identify as transgender while others take a more ambivalent approach to gender identification. Continue reading
A Princess of Great Daring (2015), written by Tobi Hill-Meyer and illustrated by Elenore Toczynski, is about a transgender girl named Jamie and her friends.
Jamie has not seen her friends all summer and plans on telling them about her gender identity. Her two moms drop her off at her friend’s house as all of her buddies are starting to play a game. They will be princes and will save a princess form distress. Jamie says she would like to be a princess and the boys are excited to have someone to rescue, but she interrupts the traditional narrative declaring that she will be “a princess of great daring.” Concerned that they will have no one to rescue, one of the boys, Liam, volunteers to be captured by a dragon. 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
Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship (2016), written by Jessica Walton and illustrated by Dougal MacPherson, is a whimsical and accessible picture book about gender expression and the power of self-identification. The teddy bear protagonist does everything with a friend named Errol. They climb trees, play in their garden, and have tea parties. Continue reading
A Girl Named Adam (2019), written by Jordan Scavone and illustrated by C.N.J. Zing, tells the story of a young girl begrudgingly adjusting to her best friend’s transition at the start of fourth grade. Few stories that focus on transgender children are available, and Scavone’s story is the first I have read that focuses on the discomfort and jealousy of a young girl whose good friend is transitioning.
The story opens with the narrator, Annie, and her best friend, referred to through most of the narration as Adam, going back-to-school shopping with Annie’s mom. Annie didn’t want to go shopping with a “boy,” but her mom forces her to “be nice” and invite Adam along. Continue reading