Written by: Beth Reichmuth
Illustrated by: Nomy Lamm
For Ages: 3-8 years
Topics Covered: Self-Esteem, Gender Identity, Self-Expression, Acceptance, Community.
Summary: This book follows a child named Jay during their day at preschool. Jay has short brown hair, a guitar shirt, and a sparkly skirt over their pants. Jay talks about their friends and what everyone does during the day. In dramatic play, they bake pizza and distribute it to the class. A friend named Casey loves Jay’s sparkly skirt, and so Jay shares another one that they brought in their backpack. Casey and Jay with the rest of the class dress up fancy and play together, having a party and then knocking down a block tower. It’s then time to clean up and go home!
This book is interesting because it doesn’t directly address the fact that Jay is relatively genderqueer. Jay’s gender is not mentioned, neither are pronouns. The classroom and its activities are completely normalized as everyone dressing up however they please, and playing with a variety of toys in the classroom. In the back of the book, the author lists some talking points and questions for reading this book with a group or class. Simple plot line, and a great way to introduce the concept of “everything is for everyone” to young children.
- How do you feel when you’re wearing your favorite clothes?
- How do you think Jay feels when they’re able to share a special sparkly skirt with Casey?
- Would you like to go to the party that the class has, where everyone is dressed up fancy?
- What do you wear when you want to feel “fancy”? What does fancy mean for you?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Have a parade in your classroom where everyone wears exactly what makes them feel fanciest.
- Make a themed Dramatic Play area. Make the area a store, and have students go shopping for themselves or each other.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Beth Reichmuth (she/her) is a writer and preschool teacher who also spends her time lazily hiking and crafting notes to send to her friends via snail mail. She lives with her soon-to-be-wife, Sarah, in San Francisco, California. She is passionate about LGBT families and gender-expansive children being supported and celebrated as an integral part of their schools and communities. I’m Jay, Let’s Play is her first children’s book.
Nomy Lamm (they/them) is a writer, musician, voice teacher and illustrator who lives in Olympia, Washington with their partner Lisa, their dog Dandelion, their cat Pearl Buttons, and lots of plants. Nomy loves listening to the wisdom of their environment, their body, and their community, and works to make the world more fun and fair. For more information check out www.nomyteaches.com.