An enlightening, much-needed resource for parents hoping to raise their children without limitations.



A sociologist recounts her family’s journey in gender creative parenting, a relatively new and misunderstood concept.

During her time as an educator, Myers became well versed in the research related to gender stereotypes and inequality. When she got pregnant, she and her husband decided to not disclose their child’s sex or assign a gender and to use only the gender-neutral pronouns “they/their” when discussing their child, Zoomer. As the author explains, “many of the physical, emotional, and verbal differences we see between boys and girls are largely socially constructed and reinforced through stereotypes.” By raising Zoomer without exposure to these stereotypes and expectations, they hoped they would have the freedom to discover their interests “outside the pressures of a restrictive binary” and to later self-identify. As they arose, Myers and her husband would be there to “answer their gender-related questions consciously, age appropriately, and inclusively.” Without much information available regarding gender creative parenting, the author and her husband had to trust their instincts and dig deep into what information they could find. To help others in similar situations, Myers began documenting their journey online, and she describes the encounters, both positive and negative, that they have had with family, strangers, and the media. Throughout, the author is frank and compassionate. “Stepping into the spotlight as a public advocate for gender creative parenting was terrifying,” she writes. “But I had such a conviction that gender creative parenting could contribute to changing the world for the better that I knew I had to spread the message as often and as far as I could. Being a part of this movement—being a part of creating a more inclusive world that celebrates diversity and relentlessly fights for equality—would be my greatest achievement.” Jill Soloway provides a brief foreword.

An enlightening, much-needed resource for parents hoping to raise their children without limitations.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0367-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Topple/Little A

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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