There’s much to love here.

LOVE YOUR BODY

A picture book from Down Under that aims to uplift every body.

A Kickstarter campaign funded this picture book, which Australian author Sanders hopes “will comfort…guide…and empower” readers—especially “girls and those who identify as a girl.” Brazillian illustrator Rossetti endeavors to be inclusive, with depictions of a diverse range of bodies, including girls and women with a range of skin tones, hair textures and colors, and body types as well as a range of gender presentations and some visible disabilities. Some people have visible freckles, acne, body hair, cellulite, and stretch marks, and one person appears to have vitiligo. It is hard to track any individual characters from one spread to the next, but that isn’t as necessary as it would be if the text had a narrative. It doesn’t. Instead, this is a book that might best be described as a self-help picture book, filled with affirmations and explicit urgings toward self-care, self-love, and acceptance of others. The text also provides strategies for self-affirmation and for seeking help and support, though some tips are potentially exclusive of people with mobility disabilities and blind or deaf people. This edition’s backmatter offers a list of U.S.–based support organizations, with a pointer to www.re-shape.info for resources in other countries.

There’s much to love here. (Picture book. 3-12)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5242-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Depicting societally marginalized human bodies in all their joyful, normal glory, this book is cool.

BODIES ARE COOL

A bustling celebration of body positivity that lovingly features bodies, skin, and hair of all kinds.

“Big bodies, small bodies / dancing, playing, happy bodies! / Look at all these different bodies! / Bodies are cool!” begins this engaging picture book, extolling the variety and splendor of human bodies in gentle, singsong text. With shared public spaces as the backdrop of her full-bleed spreads—and a refreshing lack of fanfare—author/illustrator Feder depicts people of many races, genders, disabilities, and physical attributes enjoying one another’s company, emphasizing connection rather than explanation. Whether riding a crowded bus, painting a community mural, or playing in a public park, no individual’s body is on particular display. Instead, young readers are able to people-watch through the pages, observing difference within the context of community. Most notably, Feder chooses clear and unapologetic language to describe body characteristics, challenging the negative connotations that are often attached to those bodies. Though the illustrations are a bit jam-packed, their richness and detail easily make up for the busy feel. Perfect for read-alouds, this offering shows young readers that vitiligo, assistive equipment, scars (including those denoting gender transition), fatness, dark skin, and textured hair (among many other features) all belong. Expanding visually beyond her celebration of the body, Feder also takes care to include queer families and characters wearing headscarves and turbans as well.

Depicting societally marginalized human bodies in all their joyful, normal glory, this book is cool. (Picture book. 3-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11262-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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