Perfect Picture Book Friday: I Am Jazz – A True Story About A Transgender Child

Roses are red, violets are blue.

We’ve got so much snow, I don’t know what to do!

Yes, you’ve guessed it. We got more snow during the week and they are predicting another HUGE blizzard within forty-eight hours. As you can imagine, I am now on a first name basis with our lovely snow plow guy. See what his plow looks like after pushing all that snow?

snowplow

Fortunately, there is so much for a writer to do when stuck in the house. I’m still participating in Kristen Fulton’s 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction Picture Books.

So today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection is one of the special stories from that challenge.

But before I get to the review, I wanted to mention another challenge that is near and dear to my heart. Whether you are a writer or a reader, a teacher or a parent, you know that reviews are very important for the success of a book…especially those that are posted to Amazon and other review sites. I’ve been tagged by a dear friend, Carrie Finison, to participate in BOOK LOVE – a Blog Hop

. Anyone can jump on board. And I hope that all of you will. There is only one requirement. Review a picture book (especially one that doesn’t have many reviews) and post it to Amazon. I did that last week for All Different Now – Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson (only had 4 reviews), Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox (only had 15 reviews), Skit-Scat Ragetty Cat, by Roxanne Orgill (only had 9 reviews). I’ll be posting my review for today’s selection also, as well as doing a bonus book review (which you will find at the end of this post).

Writers and illustrators work so hard to put quality books on the shelves for our children. I’ve spoken to published authors who tell me that they revise their stories dozens and dozens of times…and I guess this is necessary because the hallmark of a successful picture book is that it is enjoyable to read over and over again…so if you can read your own work over and over…chances are other people will also.

My PPBF choice is a book that addresses an extremely sensitive issue – transgender kids.

jazz

I AM JAZZ

Written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jenning

Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Publisher: Dial (2014)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Transgender, believe in yourself, be true to yourself

 

Opening Lines:

“I am Jazz! For as long as I can remember, my favorite color has been pink. (My second-favorite color is silver and my third-favorite color is green.)”

Synopsis:

Even as a very young child, Jazz felt more comfortable wearing ‘girl’s’ clothing and playing with ‘girl’s’ toys. She describes herself by saying she has a girl brain but a boy body. Her parents take her to a doctor and are able to accept the ‘diagnosis’ that she is a transgender person. They are extremely supportive of her. Although there are still kids and adults who tease her and don’t accept her, she realizes that when people get to know her, they want to be her friend. And she feels that if she pretended to be a boy, it would be the same as lying.

Why I like this book:

  • A well-written book on a very difficult topic
  • The story helps us see that Jazz’ young friends are very accepting, but it is the older children and adults who sometimes have a problem with her situation.
  • The illustrations are great, depicting Jazz participating in all types of activities with her friends

 

 

How a parent can use this book:

  • This is such an important message – the more different we seem, the more alike we really are – great launchpad for discussions on treating everyone with respect and courtesy
  • Another important discussion: is it okay for girls to like to do ‘boy’ things and boys to like to do ‘girl’ things?

Related Activity:

 

And here is the bonus Perfect Picture Book:

snowglobe

SNOW GLOBE FAMILY

Written by Jane O’Connor

Illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (2006)

Age: 4 and up

Themes: Family life, snow, parallel universe

Synopsis:

A family lives in a big old house. On their mantel is a snowglobe. Inside the snowglobe lives another family of very tiny people who love to play in the snow. When the ‘big’ family goes out to play in the snow, the ‘big’ baby plays with the snowglobe and creates a huge snowstorm for the tiny people who are delighted to go sledding inside their globe.

Why I Loved This Book:

  • Clever story of two parallel universes – the text is funny and sweet and the illustrations are vintage and harken back to some of the classic picture books of old.
  • The spread where ‘big’ baby looks into the window of the house of the tiny people in the snowglobe is awesome – my grandson loved that!

How Parents Can Use This Book:

  • As with I Am Jazz, this book shows how the more different we may seem, the more similar we really are.

RELATED ACTIVITY:

Make A Snow Globe

snowglobe-350x440Photo courtesy: education.com

Find simple instructions here: http://www.education.com/activity/article/Snowglobe/

I’ve been studying various types of picture book stories – The Snow Globe Family is a perfect example of a parallel picture book. I’d love to write one of these – maybe one of these snowy days will be a great time to give it a try.

And if you’d like to check out even more picture book reviews, please head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

Have a beautiful weekend!

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2018), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, cooking, playing Monopoly with my 8-year old grandson and fly-fishing with my husband.

Posted on February 6, 2015, in Crafts for kids, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture book reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Two great books, Vivian! I’m especially thrilled to be adding I Am Jazz to our list because I don’t believe we have any books yet about transgender kids. Thank you so much for finding this one and reviewing it! As for the snow… all I can say is us too – I feel your pain! But spring is coming. Time is on our side. Eventually, someday, all that snow has to go! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a tough topic, Susanna..and I thought this book did an especially great job handling it. 🙂 And about the snow…I guess I should be thankful because in Colorado, we had several years of drought because of not enough snow…that obviously won’t be a problem here. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. A very difficult topic. And, my library has this one. I hope to be reading it soon. Sorry about the snow. We had almost 60ish degree weather in Colorado today. It’s been in the high 40s and 50s … all but one day. March will be our killer snow month … I just dread, er, I mean know it. Thanks for these reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been watching the temps in Colorado this past week, Stacy…with a bit of nostalgia. 🙂 I remember those days of 70 degrees in February…and also those crazy snowstorms in a March and April. 🙂 Glad the Springs library system has this book!

      Like

  3. Vivian- both of these books look FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for sharing them, and for participating in Book Love! You are a LOVE-ly person!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A tough but important topic. This looks like a beautiful book that will surely bring some comfort to children struggling with gender. And hopefully it will open the minds and hearts of those who are intolerant. Great pick, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Iza…for sure this is a tough topic. And as you say, the benefits of the book are two-sided…helping kids who deal with this to realize that they are not alone and that it is okay to be different…and just as importantly, to help educate others and open their hearts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, a tough topic indeed. But seems to have been done quite well. Jazz did a nice video. Thanks for including that. And that snow globe book looks pretty cute as well! Double the fun today! Thanks Ms Kirkfield!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Recently read and reviewed a book for MCCBD titled The Unboy Boy somewhat related to this theme. Glad to see more books on the subject

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that sounds like a great book, Barb…I’ll have to check it out. For so long, these issues were swept under the rug, ignored or hidden…denying who you are is a sure recipe for low self-esteem and serious problems later in life.

      Like

  7. I am so glad to see this PB based on a true story. It is so inspiring that the author is comfortable with herself and wanting to share her story to help other kids. Like your activities, especially those that discourage gender stereotyping in children’s play time. Such a great selection today. I have to buy this one. Yes, double the fun today with a second review related to all the snow you are getting in New England. Keep warm!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved your choices for PPBF, Vivian. Wow so wonderful to see the author talk about this very important topic. Great find! Loved your second choice also. Sorry to hear you are having all that snow.. err well I am wishing I could have some. We are having beautiful weather here and in no hurray for autumn, thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am Jazz is a wonderful autobiography – and on an important topic. I think it’s important for kids to know that there are many different ways to “be” in this world, and that we can accept everyone.

    Like

  10. I really don’t know how you’re all managing, but man am I glad I left New England! No doubt, however, it’s perfect weather for lots of books, and crafts!

    Liked by 1 person

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