Being You: A First Conversation About Gender (First Conversations) (Board book)
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Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.
Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this topic-driven board book offers clear, concrete language and beautiful imagery that young children can grasp and adults can leverage for further discussion.
While young children are avid observers and questioners of their world, adults often shut down or postpone conversations on complicated topics because it's hard to know where to begin. Research shows that talking about issues like race and gender from the age of two not only helps children understand what they see, but also increases self-awareness, self-esteem, and allows them to recognize and confront things that are unfair, like discrimination and prejudice.
This second book in the series begins the conversation on gender, with a supportive approach that considers both the child and the adult. Stunning art accompanies the simple and interactive text, and the backmatter offers additional resources and ideas for extending this discussion.
About the Author
Jessica Ralli is the Coordinator of Early Literacy Programs at Brooklyn Public Library where she develops and manages programming for BPL's award-winning First Five Years initiative. She received her M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and previously taught in schools, childcare centers, and museums. She has written about early literacy and library services for young children in School Library Journal (where she co-authors the "First Steps" column with Rachel G. Payne) and has presented on play-based learning at the American Library Association Conference, Young Child Expo, and the Bank Street Center for Children's Literature.
Megan Pamela Ruth Madison is a lifelong student of radical Black feminism and an early childhood educator. She holds an MS in early childhood education from Dominican University and a BA in studies in religion from the University of Michigan. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy. When she's not working on finishing up her dissertation, she works as a trainer for the Center for Racial Justice in Education, the Human Root, and the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, facilitating workshops for teachers on race, gender, and sexuality.
Anne (Andy) Passchier is a non-binary illustrator from The Netherlands, currently based in the USA. They have illustrated several children's books focusing on identity and the LGBTQIA community, including Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart; Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Karen Rayne, PhD and Katherine Gonzales, MBA; Benny's True Colors by Norene Paulson; and What Are Your Words? by Katherine Locke. They also create online comics about their experiences as a non-binary person under the pseudonym Andyrogyny. Passchier lives with their two cats, loves to travel and draw, and enjoys all things spooky and Halloween.
“This primer on gender lays the groundwork for affirming conversations and creates opportunities for self-identification.” – Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)
KIRKUS BEST BOOK (2021)
"A sunny, straightforward book guiding children through what gender is, how it can fluctuate, and how it’s used throughout social structures. This book is an excellent way to generate conversation!" –School Library Journal
Wisconsin State Recommended Book