A new children’s book: “Be Who You Are”
Jennifer Carr has made an important contribution to children’s literature in her 2010 offering “Be Who You Are” (Author House, Bloomington, IN). In this 32 page, colorfully illustrated (by Ben Rumback) book, Carr shows the challenges of a gender variant child “Nick” as he transforms into “Hope”.
Hope’s parents are unwavering in their support and help her as she negotiates run-in’s with a teacher and disappointment with school. Other issues raised are connecting with a therapist, finding community with other families with gender variant children, dealing with a younger brother’s coming to terms with her, correcting pronouns and self acceptance. Certain milestones such as wearing a dress out to a park and picking a new name are lovingly celebrated.
This book, which can be read to or with a transgender child, performs an invaluable function – it legitimizes and normalizes the child’s experience. In addition it gives clues and direction to the young child on how to cope with difficult situations, such as:
“…whenever she felt sad or worried she talked with her parents”
“…when someone made a mistake and called her by the wrong name, she politely said ‘Please call me Hope. It means a lot to me’ ”.
In short it is a book written for the transgender child not just about a child who is transgender. Kudos to Carr (who runs an excellent blog here) and was inspired by her own child for writing this book.
(For more information on books for Transgender children see the bibliography complied by Nancy Silverrod of the San Francisco Public Library here )