Calvin

Hardcover

In this joyful and impactful picture book, a transgender boy prepares for the first day of school and introduces himself to his family and friends for the first time.

Calvin has always been a boy, even if the world sees him as a girl. He knows who he is in his heart and in his mind but he hasn’t yet told his family. Finally, he can wait no longer: “I’m not a girl,” he tells his family. “I’m a boy–a boy in my heart and in my brain.” Quick to support him, his loving family takes Calvin shopping for the swim trunks he’s always wanted and back-to-school clothes and a new haircut that helps him look and feel like the boy he’s always known himself to be. As the first day of school approaches, he’s nervous and the “what-ifs” gather up inside him. But as his friends and teachers rally around him and he tells them his name, all his “what-ifs” begin to melt away.

Inspired by the authors’ own transgender child and accompanied by warm and triumphant illustrations, this authentic and personal text promotes kindness and empathy, offering a poignant and inclusive back-to-school message: all should feel safe, respected, and welcomed.

JR and Vanessa Ford are nationally-known advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, specifically, rights for transgender youth. Their advocacy and work has been featured in the New York TimesNewsweekThe Boston GlobeThe Washington Post, and in Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric. They were both founding members of the Human Rights Campaign's Parents for Transgender Equality Council. They live with their two children, one of whom is trans, in the Boston, MA area.

Kayla Harren graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She illustrated the award-winning picture books A Boy Like You and The Boy Who Grew A Forest. Kayla draws pictures at her home in Minnesota, where she lives with her husband and dogs.

A 2022 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
A 2022 Lambda Literary Award Finalist
A 2022 ALA Rainbow Book List Top Ten Title for Young Readers
A 2022 NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book Pick


Gives transgender youth a superhero. Illustrations by Kayla Herren are full of bright, vivid pastels, showing a joyful Calvin and a diverse group of classmates. An intentional, inclusive book.” —The Boston Globe

★ “This is one happy book that reflects an idealized world, a way we all wish it could be, and that’s all right. Illustrator Harren’s softly colored, realistic pictures capture that world and Calvin’s look perfectly—he’s cute as the proverbial button. Finally, the coauthors write with gentle insight, for, as they share in an endnote, they have a trans child themselves.” —Bookliststarred review


Collections: All, Picture Books, Pride




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