I have been aware of Born Ready: A True Story of a Boy Named Penelope for awhile now. I was not necessarily rushing to read, but I knew that it would be on the TBR pile soon enough. When I finally got my hands on a copy of Jodie Patterson’s book, I was glad I read it, but at the same time a bit disappointed. There was nothing “new” added to the theme of a transgender child. We see at a young age Penelope telling his mother he is a boy. We see the concerns, questions, and hesitation of the parents (which was nice to see that it was not a “add water and acceptance” happens). And we see the transitioning.
That is not to say this is a bad book in anyway, but I guess I have read several now and the message has been similar. Granted, I did like this better than some books of the same theme, but it is not on my Top 10 Favorites. The fact that it is based off the authors personal experiences and from their memoir, The Bold World, does add… I hate to say “authenticity,” but it does give it a personal spin.
Charnelle Pinkney Barlow’s illustrations are pleasant. They are warm, welcoming, and help move the story along. Colors and details fit the mood and help give the reader what they need to fill in the blanks of the text. They compliment what you are reading. And while all ages could listen, and older children start reading on their own, this book might be best for the older child 5 to 8. The picture book format might turn off some older readers, but it is worth letting them know about it.