Written by: Theresa Thorn
Illustrated by: Noah Grigni
For ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Self-Acceptance, Self-Esteem, Gender Identity, LGBTQ Youth, Friendship, Family, Love, Own Voices, Community, POC-Centric Narratives.
Summary: This book is INCREDIBLE. It was written clearly and in a style that shows us the author is familiar with children, and explaining things to them. The book affirms and reaffirms for children that how they feel is more than ok, it should be greeted with love and acceptance and then celebrated.
The book’s characters have several different gender identities and describes being cisgender, transgender, and non-binary in a way that is very easy for young children to understand. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and some of the most diverse around. There are disabled characters, characters with different body sizes, and children of color are very well represented!
The characters Ruthie, JJ, and Alex are described by how they feel inside, aka gender identity. These explanations are very developmentally appropriate and easy for children to understand and identify with. In the back, there is a helpful list of terms for those who may not be familiar. These terms will also help older children get more vocabulary information from the story. Additionally, there is a blurb about pronouns and a list of helpful resources. There is even a note from both the author and illustrator about their own experiences with gender identity! In our opinion, everyone should have a copy of this book!
- Did you identify with a specific character in this book?
- What does is feel like when you try and tell someone something but they don’t listen?
- How can you be a good friend to someone who tells you that adults might have made a mistake when deciding that they’re a boy or girl?
Continuing the Conversation:
- There are lots of different things some people say are only for certain people. Make a list of these things, and talk about why people say these things, and if they’re right or not. Can anyone wear a dress? Are certain games only for boys? Who gets to decide these things?
- Come up with strategies for what to say to someone who thinks another person or classmate is “weird” or “wrong” for feeling and doing what they want. How can you educate someone that doesn’t think non-binary or transgender people exist?
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Theresa Thorn is the cohost of the parenting humor podcast One Bad Mother and the coauthor of You’re Doing a Great Job! 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and It Feels Good to Be Yourself is her first book for children.
Noah Grigni is an illustrator and comic artist from Decatur, Georgia, whose work focuses on themes of gender fluidity, body positivity, and mental health. Through art and writing, they hope to make space for more stories centering diverse trans characters with depth, personality, and agency. Their work is introspective, bold, and playful, using vulnerability as a way to start difficult conversations and encourage honest reflection. Noah’s art is a reminder to heal, a call to action, and above all, an unapologetic celebration of trans and queer love. Noah lives in Boston with their partner, Braden, and their cat, Valentino.
Noah graduated from Lesley University in 2018 with a BFA in illustration and a minor in creative writing. Their art has appeared in It Feels Good To Be Yourself by Theresa Thorn, We’re Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology by Tara Avery and Jeanne Thornton, The Transgender Heroes Coloring Book by Avery and Cameron, The Gender Identity Workbook For Kids by Kelly Storck, and The Worry Workbook For Kids by Muniya Khanna. They have also self-published their art and writing in several zines, including Don’t Cut My Flowers, Dibujitos//Aguadilla, Anatomy of a Wallflower, and The Lighthouse, which are available on Etsy. They recently finished illustrating The Big Talk by Rachel Simon, coming in 2020 from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Noah is currently working on their first graphic novel, Cloudland, coming in 2021 from Macmillan, among other projects.
Noah was assigned female at birth, and came out as trans in high school.