This week’s Five Star Friday recommendation is another banned book since we will have our banned book display out only through the rest of the weekend. Today, however, I’ve chosen a children’s book called “I am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings.
This cute kid’s book illustrates the life of Jazz growing up as a transgender girl. Because she was assigned male at birth, everyone thought she was a boy and she struggles to make anyone, even her family understand her true identity, but Jazz persisted and now as a teen, she advocates for transgender rights and equality.
“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 boy’s clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who diagnosed Jazz as transgender and explained she was born this 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.”
Even after she was allowed to live as a girl, schools tried to put Jazz on boys’ teams and make her use the boys’ bathroom, but once people understood she was really a girl, that all changed. She made friends and started being able to do the things she wanted to do, like play princesses and grow out her hair and play on a girls soccer team.
This lovely tale can help children understand their own transgender classmates, family members, friends, or even themselves. It’s a great book that celebrates diversity and accepting one’s self and others.
Not only does it create a dialogue about gender diversity, but asserts to children that it’s wonderful to be different because our differences make us who we are.
Jazz says, “I don’t mind being different. Different is special! I think what matters most is what a person is like inside.”
So check out “I am Jazz” today!
Or check out her other book for young adults titled, Being Jazz, a more detailed account of growing up, becoming a teenager, coping with bullies, and becoming a public figure and activist.