"Can I just be Me?" A trans-positive children's book
"Can I just be Me?" A trans-positive children's book
A book for transgender children about a young girl assigned male with a heartwarming story about gender identity, and body-image.
A book for transgender children about a young girl assigned male with a heartwarming story about gender identity, and body-image. Read more
Can I just be Me? is my response to the lack of books about transgender children, this void often leaves parents, families, friends and trans* kids feeling isolated. There are thousands of great children's books that tell nice stories but the truth is that acknowledging trans* children and creating inclusive stories is just not something that the big publishing houses want to do because it's to risky,
Creating these narratives is hugely important because it raises awareness of the challenges transgender children face and strives to normalise kids because after all they are just kids first and foremost. This helps by giving children and adults a way to start the conversation about gender identity.
Can I just be Me? helps parents tell children a heart-warming trans-positive story about gender and identity that isn’t just true for them, but true for everyone.
Crafted for children roughly from pre-school to 10-years-old, Can I just be Me? is written and illustrated to include all kinds of kids, all kinds of adults, and all kinds of families - regardless of what the orientation, gender identity, or how it came to be that way. It's a social justice approach to gender education.
Like all picture books, it's meant to be read to a child and gives the adult reader the opportunity to fill in as much detail as they would like. Written and illustrated by Australian 3D artist Elle Adams, Can I just be Me? is being designed and produced with the help of impress design and will be an exquisitely made hardcover picture book. 32 pages and full colour, it will be as fun to look at as it is useful to read.
Why We Want to Make This Book:
I was raised by two conservative heteronormative parents, and spent most of my young life in a conservative environment where gender identity and sexuality outside the binary were not spoken of. I had a excellent childhood but because many topics feeling like taboo, I found it increasing difficult to come to terms with who I was. For most of my childhood, I was left out and felt different from other kids, even though I secretly I knew exactly who I was – and I don’t believe I am alone in that! Now that I’m an 3D artist and producer, the way I do my work is to teach and tell stories that both acknowledge our differences and connect all of us to each other. I also have lots of experience in media production and marketing, some experience in publishing – AND energy to spare! When you back this project, I will make it flourish in a way that will make you proud to say, “I helped make this happen!"
When I was young, children’s books revealed to me other worlds and possibilities, and helped me discover my calling. I grew up to become an artist, illustrator, and animator because of these books. In my art, I try to create accessible work that speaks truthfully of human experience. The work is often about identity and empowerment. With this collaboration, you will be taking part in making a very special book – beautiful, engaging, and impactful.
I believe important to embrace our differences and understand how important it is for individuals to be able to define themselves. Almost everyone, trans or not, is familiar with the fear of falling short of people's expectations, especially when those people are your parents. This story aims to show a character who needed to make some very mature decisions to survive and to preserve their relationship with their family and community.
Our main objective is to empower gender diverse kids and deliver a body-positivity message. Although the subject is a heavy one, the tone remains light and humorous. Kids shouldn't feel that their gender identity is an obstacle to acceptance! What We Already Have: We have the story we have worked lovingly on the narrative and picked the choicest words. It has been written and worked over through dozens of test readings with families of all kinds and with the help of family and relationship counsellors. Right now, the book is half-illustrated and we are working hard to complete the rest.
What We Need from You:
Our initial goal is to raise the funds to:
- Pay for the time and labour for a professional editor
- Pay our amazing designer
- Cover the costs of the first print run of 3,000 books (including shipping it out to all of you)
This campaign is also about getting it out there. This book is so needed in so many communities, and the more copies people pre-order the more we'll be able to get the book out in the world in a way that works for many and not just a few. We would really love to see this book in every public and school library across Australia, and available around the world.
This is a project that has elements that traditional publishers would balk at. This is a different kind of project and we need to prove to ourselves, to publishers, and to the general public, that it can work. Your support let's us do it ethically and do it right. It's also a way of making a statement about the value of inclusive stories.
All children deserve stories that teach them not only about how they are unique, but also about what connects them to all other humans.
Can I just be Me? tells that story without leaving some people out because of their gender or orientation.
Please back this project and bring more stories of love and empowerment into the world.
Risks and challenges
I have produced a lot of content for children and young adults. However this will be my first children's book.
I also self-produced three short motion graphic works about gender, sex and sexuality and worked half a dozen feature films. I know how to get my work out there and how to communicate with designers and printers.
The challenge for me will be the fact that it's a hardcover book - it will be my first time publishing such a thing. But it's mostly a technical issue and I'm confident it'll be easily managed. I'll be dealing with a professional book printing company (Impress).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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