True You : A Gender Journey
There are different ways to show and be who you are in this affirming photographic picture book that offers a celebratory and informative look at kids and their wide-ranging gender identities.
“Sometimes it’s hard when kids say you have to be a boy or a girl when you’re not. Everyone should feel safe to just be who they are.”
Girls, boys, neither, both, or just not sure. Kids are kids! There are different ways to show and be who you are.
It’s up to you—how you feel, how you dress, how you act, how you play, learn, and love.
Who is the true you?
With the permission of their parents, the children in this photographic picture book were recorded and transcribed by authors Gwen Agna and Shelley Rotner as they were photographed. These powerful testimonials paired with a spare narrative and vibrant, joyful portraits offer up a humanizing and moving exploration of kids and how they feel about their true selves.
Gwen Agna has been an educator for more than forty years. Trained in early childhood education, throughout her career she worked to incorporate social justice, anti-bias, and anti-racism in all aspects of classroom practice. She lives in Northampton, MA.
Shelley Rotner is an award-winning author and photo illustrator of more than fifty books for young readers. With a background as an elementary school teacher, museum educational specialist, and UNICEF photographer, Rotner is also a noted freelance photojournalist whose work has appeared in Time magazine, National Geographic’s World magazine, and numerous others. She is best known for portraying diverse children with inclusivity in her books, notably All Kinds of People and Shades of People, where she explores kids’ worlds to raise awareness and to promote curiosity and compassion. She lives in Northampton, MA.
True You: A Gender Journey cheerfully and concisely makes accessible the complexities of gender identity and expression to a younger audience. It provides the absolutely needed service of allowing young people to recognize gender diversity both in themselves and in their peers, presenting many possibilities of both exploration tactics and ways of being. I truly believe this book will allow gender diverse youth to recognize themselves and know that they are not alone, and allow cisgender youth to approach gender diversity from a lens of kindness and potential rather than unfamiliarity and ostracization. -Alexander Petrovnia, founder of the Trans Formations Project
True You: A Gender Journey joyfully celebrates children and the freedom to be yourself. Told through the voices and experiences of real people, this book offers a lively introduction to gender diversity from credible experts on the topic. -Donalyn Miller, Teacher and Author, The Book Whisperer
“The informative book, which fills a definite need as gender has become increasingly controversial, contains a generous collection of informative back matter, it includes a glossary, letters from a family and a trans woman, sources and resources, and more. If the book has a message, it’s articulated by a young boy who says, “Everyone should feel safe to be who they are.” — Michael Cart -Booklist (starred review)
“Agna and Rotner’s text, presented against brightly colored backgrounds, encourages—“People might think your body is a clue to who you are. It is what you think that matters!”—while Rotner’s photographs capture exuberant self-expression, creating a crucial window and mirror for gender-expansive kids and their loved ones.” -Publishers Weekly
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