"This is an essential tool for parents and teachers to share with children whether those kids identify as trans or not. I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty."—Laverne Cox (who plays Sophia in “Orange Is the New Black”)
From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.
This week's book created a huge discussion among the Nonfiction Archaeology Graduate program and whether or not this was an ideal text for young children. Here were some of our big issues:
The book was written for parents not children as the adults were the ones unaccepting and having a need and want. The parents sought advice, the doctor provided advice and the child never changed.
In a world were we put labels on way too many things, we are once again labeling a child. Do we really tell our children, "Oh, that person is a transgender?" No, we tell, "Great, her favorite color is pink and mine is red." We don't highlight the difference but make children understand that there is something different about everyone.
Looking back at the 80's when stars and musicians came out of the "closet" it seemed that many of them either went back in or blamed it on being "confused". Was it a marketing ploy? I know for my friends, they didn't just have a revelation, they always knew that they were gay. Nothing turned them, nothing changed, they just found the courage to tell others. So, for the true people who are transgender, does this book make light or create a hype where it is unnecessary? And if you are trying to bring transgender awareness, is a children's book the place to do it? Her friends accepted her, others didn't, isn't that the case with every child about something?
* I would truly love to know your thoughts.
Nugget- A transgender child is accepted.
Need Enticement- Not so much a hook as it is just facts to establish that the child is normal.
Escalation- Things that Jazz likes. People that see Jazz as weird or different. Parents and doctor solving the problem.
Satisfying Ending- A sweet ending about liking the fact that she is different. But yet the story started about getting people to accept her as normal. So? I am left wanting more.
Sources-Not any since the co-author is who the story is about.
Show Words- Mainly normal words to emphasize normality.
Why- I believe that there is absolute need for awareness here but since it is written mainly to the adults then I feel that an older book would have been better suited. It seemed as though friends her age accepted her it was her older siblings, teachers and parents that made it an issue.
Need and Want- Mainly it is other people's need and want that is satisfied. The parents need their child to fit into the stereotypical boy child but at the same time they want to understand.