As part of our work, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee will make book recommendations on a theme a few times each school year. This first set of book recommendations is on the theme of gender diversity including trans and non-binary gender identities. Members of the Committee have read all the books listed below and recommend them without hesitation.
BOOKS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD (AGE 3-6)
The Boy & the Bindi by Vivek Shraya
In this beautiful children’s picture book a five-year-old boy becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi, the red dot commonly worn by South Asian women to indicate the point at which creation begins, and wishes to have one of his own. Rather than chastise her son, she agrees to it, and teaches him about its cultural significance, allowing the boy to discover the magic of the bindi, which in turn gives him permission to be more fully himself. The Boy & the Bindi is a joyful celebration of gender and cultural difference.
Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julián is a Mermaid is a story about a boy and his Abuela. It is a story about being seen for who we are by someone who loves us.
BOOKS FOR GRADES 1-3 (AGE 6-8)
I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
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. Based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings.
George by Alex Gino
When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all. GEORGE is a candid, genuine, and heartwarming story about a transgender girl who is, to use Charlotte’s word, R-A-D-I-A-N-T!
My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer
Ten-year-old Caspar “Caz” Cadman loves baseball and has a great arm. He loves the sounds, the smells, the stats. When his family moves from Toronto to a suburb of Seattle, the first thing he does is try out for the local summer team, the Redburn Ravens. Even though Caz is thrilled when he makes the team, he worries because he has a big secret. No one knows that back in Toronto, Caz used to live life as a girl named Cassandra. But when a player on a rival team starts snooping around, Caz’s past is revealed, and Caz worries it will be Toronto all over again. A heartwarming, funny, fast-paced story about the bravery it takes to live as your true self, no matter the cost.
BOOKS FOR GRADES 7-8 (AGE 12-14)
Ana on the Edge by A.J. Sass
A heartfelt coming of age story about a nonbinary character navigating a binary world. Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about gender identity begin to take center stage.
BOOKS FOR GROWN UPS
This Is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them. This is how children change…and then change the world. This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.