Monday, February 10, 2020

NetGalley ARC | You Be You!: The Kid’s Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family

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I received a free copy of this ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

From Goodreads:

This is an illustrated children's book for ages 7-11 that makes gender identity, sexual orientation, and family diversity easy to explain to children.

Throughout the book kids learn that there are many kinds of people in the world and that diversity is something to be celebrated. It covers gender, romantic orientation, discrimination, intersectionality, privilege, and how to stand up for what's right. With charming illustrations, clear explanations, and short sections that can be dipped in and out of, this book helps children think about how to create a kinder, more tolerant world.


I LOVED this book and am so happy I found it. It is such a well-thought out guide to help children understand very complex topics. I love that it not only handled the topics of gender, sex, and orientation, but also intersectionality, privilege, being an ally, and discrimination. In fact, each of the latter have a chapter dedicated to them, just as the obvious topics did before them.

I really loved the illustrations, which are more or less anatomically correct. I also loved the fact that in addition to the gender, sex, and orientation diversity, there was a slew of ethnic and racial diversity too. So much about this book truly was perfect, that I will definitely be reading it to Eleanor in the future either from the library or our own copy. We have had conversations in the past, starting around age four or so, about how a person can love whoever they want - this came from a time when she saw two young men holding hands. Without overloading her brain at the time, I explained that boys can marry boys, or girls; girls can marry girls, or boys. As she gets older I will start addressing the gender spectrum and will definitely use this book to do so. The explanations and examples are so clear, it will do a much better job than I alone could.

NetGalley and Goodreads indicate the book is geared toward the 5-10 range and I would agree with that to an extent, but it runs about 80 pages. There's not a ton of text on each page, sometimes a paragraph or two, and illustrations abound, but it might still be hard for a five year old to listen for that long if you plan to read straight-through. I agree a lot with the blurb, stating it can be a book you 'dip in and out of', and maybe you read a chapter at a time. That is likely what I would do with Eleanor, because these definitely are complicated issues and I also want her to ask questions and not be overwhelmed with information and her own questions at the same time. And honestly, there are plenty of adults who stand to benefit from the overall message even if the content makes them uncomfortable: 

You be you! And help others be themselves.

It is literally the last line of the book, and one of the best. if we are trying to raise up the next generation to be kinder and gentler, I can't think of a better message. You are you, how you feel is okay, how you see yourself is okay, and no one has the right to make you feel ashamed or scared. If we want to truly support and understand one another, we have to be willing to open our minds and hearts and accept that the world is a big, diverse place, and that diversity in ALL its forms is a good thing. Regardless of any of the things that make us different, respect and kindness are key.

Highly recommended.


  1. Replies
    1. It's great! I think it needs to be in every school, library, pediatrician's office, everywhere!

  2. Parenting is tough and I love that there are authors/illustrators who put books out there that are tools and help out a lot.

    1. It is such a fantastic guide in general and the examples are so simple and clear. The LGBTQIA+ community is very important to me, but I sometimes struggle with how to explain things to Eleanor in a way that she would understand. This book is perfect for doing so.

  3. This sounds like a real winner, one that would definitely be helpful to kids trying to understand a complex world.

    1. Yes!! It needs to be in every library, pediatrician's office, school, etc!


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