About this project
'Are you a Boy or are you a Girl?' is unlike any kind of children's book you've seen before. With your help, we can talk gender creatively and with confidence, and assist parents and teachers the world over.
My name is Sarah Savage and I’m a writer, transgender community advocate and
a few years ago took part in a documentary series called My Transsexual
What makes this book new is that it leaves it up to the reader to decide the gender of the main character. It’s a book that includes all forms of gender expression, and it allows parents and children to begin to break down the barriers of gender and to talk about what different stereotypes and roles mean to them.
isn't it time we stopped putting our children in pink and blue boxes? Are we disadvantaging them by restricting equality to old-fashioned stereotypes of gender? This book is not just for children who may be gender variant, I have written it with everyone in mind in the hope of breaking down these out-dated ideas of what it means to be a person living in twenty first century society.
I remember being 4 or 5 years old and already knowing that somehow I was different to the other children in my class. I was uncomfortable in my own skin but didn’t have the language skills to vocalise how I felt. It was a really confusing time for me and this could have been avoided if I had access to resources that helped me to articulate how I felt.
Recently, I was at an event with quite a few children. One of them, aged about 5 years, came up to me and asked what my name was and whether I was a boy or a girl. I realised that this was a teaching opportunity, but afterwards I found myself wishing that there were more resources available that would introduce children to the idea that gender is theirs to decide, that it’s something to be explored and enjoyed, and something that is both honest and age appropriate.
The problem with most of the books currently on sale for children is that
they portray gender, something most of us know to be, in fact, quite flexible, to
be fixed at birth.. And yet at least 1 in 100 people are born gender variant in
some way and for some, not being open about their true gender can lead to a
lifetime of pain and suffering. Psychologically speaking, children need the
space, freedom and encouragement to express themselves fully, before they can
grow into happy adults.
For those of us who want to have this conversation with our children the hard part can be finding the right words. How do you explore concepts like; gender binary, biological sex, psychological gender, transgender, GenderQueer, and all those others lovely complex things to a child who thinks sticking a bean in their ear is the apex of awesomeness? The truth is that our children get a very binary experience of the world and trying to show them options other than Action Man or Barbie can seem an insurmountable task. 'Are you a Boy or are you a Girl?' will simply open the dialogue with your child.Where that dialogue ends up, much like our gender-free protagonist, is up to you!
Crafted for children roughly from pre-school to 7 years old, 'Are You a Boy or are you a Girl' will be a full colour 32 page illustrated book, It will give parents, teachers and guardians the springboard to explore gender identity with children and help them to grow up to be more rounded, emotionally mature adults.
I would love for this book to be in every school, nursery and library in the world so am working with a wonderful charity called Gendered Intelligence to create an educational resource pack to send to schools, to equip them with the tools they need to better educate children about gender.
Your support will help to pay for the illustrations, the designer and to get it printed locally, which is important to me.
If you’re not sure how this whole Kickstarter thing works, check out their FAQ page. If you have any questions at all about the project, about where your money will go, or if you have ideas or suggestions of ways to collaborate please get in touch. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So if you have kids, know anyone who has kids, if you’re a big kid at heart, or if you just think that children should be told a new kind of story where they are accepted and loved for who they are, however they wish to express their gender and to help to tell a story that includes everybody then I really hope that you’ll back my project.
Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl? Is a story about a child whose gender is up to you to decide.
I'd just like to thank the 108 backers so far, we are well on our way to reaching the goal, I'm so pleased that people like my idea!
Tiny and their family have just moved to a new house, dad has a new job, mum has some decorating to do and the two children have a new school to get used to. One of Tiny's favourite things to do is to play dress up, Tiny's sister, Fiona loves to play along and they have the most awesome costume box filled with all kinds of fun clothes to wear.
The story follows Tiny as they get accustomed to the new school, teacher and friends, on Tiny's first day the class has a visit from a fire engine and some fire fighters for a safety talk. As Tiny starts making friends it occurs to them that that they haven't asked their new play buddy one question.
"Tiny" they ask, "are you a boy or are you a girl?"
I've written this book with gender at the forefront of my mind, I use Tiny's love of dressing up as a way to explore stereotypes, to discuss how certain clothes and activities are associated with being male, female or not gendered at all. I have used very simple concepts that children of all ages will understand, can boys and girls be fire fighters? Does it always have to be a boy rescuing a girl from the castle? Is it always mum cooking dinner or is it something that everyone can enjoy doing?
Above are two very early sketches of Tiny, on the right dressed in more stereotypically boys clothing and on the left Tiny is dressed in a more feminine way.
Risks and challenges
Should any setbacks arise, I will take great pains to correct things and promise to always communicate clearly and in a timely manner with my backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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