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Accepting, Empowering, and Loving All Kids

two children reading

Being a child or teenager in today’s society is hard. Society dictates how they should behave, what they should like, and who they should be with.  Those pressures can especially impact adolescents when they aren’t conforming or don’t want to conform to unwritten ideals about gender roles. Thankfully, there are great resources available for those working with or loving kids questioning their gender identity. The NSVRC library has some helpful titles worth checking out. On behalf of LGBTQ Pride Month, I encourage you to take a look at these fabulous books.
Jamie is Jamie: A Book about Being Yourself and Playing Your Way by Afsaneh Moradian introduces a curious and fun-loving preschooler named Jamie. Jamie discovers that there are many different and fun toys to play with and doesn’t believe that some are supposed to be for girls, while others are supposed to be for boys. Jamie believes that toys are fun no matter what.This book challenges gender stereotypes, shows readers that playing is fundamental to learning, and reinforces the idea that all children need the freedom to play uninhibited. The book also contains a special section for teachers, parents, and caregivers, which provides tips on how to make children’s playtime a learning experience. 

The Gender Quest Workbook: A Guide for Teens and Young Adults Exploring Gender Identity by Rylan Jay Testa, Deborah Coolhart, and Jayme Peta is a workbook that incorporates skills, exercises, and activities from evidence-based therapies to help teens address the struggles they may encounter related to gender identity. It is intended for those who already identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, as well as those who are beginning to question their gender identity. The workbook includes chapters on sex and dating, balancing multiple identities, and dealing with stressful situations and building resilience against gender minority stress. It also features a downloadable guide for clinicians that explains ways in which professionals can better serve these young people. 

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt chronicles the true story of a family that could have been destroyed by an unexpected challenge, but was instead brought closer together. The journey begins when Wayne and Kelly Maines adopt Wyatt and Jonas, identical twin boys. It becomes apparent that Wyatt and Jonas are two very different people. Jonas prefers the stereotypical male toys and activities whereas Wyatt prefers things that are considered to be more for little girls.Throughout the years, the Maines family embarks on an emotional journey that changes their lives forever. The book brings forth a mother whose instincts told her that her child needed love and acceptance, not disapproval. It also highlights a father who overcomes his own beliefs and fears to become a staunch advocate for transgender rights. The story will resonate with anyone who’s ever raised a child, felt at odds with society’s norms, or had to embrace unexpected change.

It’s fun and exciting watching children discover who they are and what they might become. That growth shouldn’t be limited by the parameters of ‘as long as it fits this or that role.’ Society does us all a disservice when it tries to place everyone in the same box. It is encouraging to discover stories and resources that highlight the lives of people who are fierce advocates for children and teens questioning their gender identity. I highly encourage anyone interested to browse through the library catalog for themselves for these and our many other fabulous resources. As always, I wish you all a fantastic day and happy reading!