The subject of transgender kids is a hot topic today. Regardless if you are in the court of “yay! Kids! Be you!” or in the court of “How can they know they are not their birth gender at a young age?” it is there. And I’m Not a Girl: A Transgender Story is another book dealing with this situation.
Told from the point of view of the child, this seems like it is a realistic journey a young boy might take to become his true self. What probably would be labeled as a “tom boy” in my day, shows the deeper side to not wanting to wear dresses, wanting to play with the boys and knowing it is not just being “not girly” but actually being “not a girl.” There are nice points made, Hannah knows there are wonderful females in history and current events, they just are not a girl. They want a short haircut, not wear dresses on picture day and “that swim suit” is just not going to do it for him.
However, the argument could be made, this is a little late to the party. The story has been told before. Yet, I see this book as a new way to introduce a child’s family, friends and classmates to this transformation. Maddox Lyons and Jessica Verdi based this on a true transgender journey. They take Hannah from knowing who he is to finally telling his parents (and having them listen) and then starting his journey.
The text is a bit clinical and not necessarily a “Hey! Let’s read this fun and full of adventure book!” kind of book. It is an easy and sensitive way to introduce the story to the younger ages. Dana Simpson’s illustrations are sweet and help cut the seriousness of the subject, but do not take away from it either.