What’s the story?
The story is autobiographical. It explains how I came to identify as non binary and what it means for me. The story starts with Lourdes recalling childhood and noticing how gendered everything about existence is since before we’re even born. Lourdes points out how people create categories to make life easier but when it comes to people, gender categories can make life so difficult - restrooms, clothing stores, toy stores, sports teams, fitting rooms. They have a hard time even imagining where they’ll ever fit in.
Then they find queer and trans community where they feel empowered to reinvent language that works for them and we see them doing fun everyday things with friends like play games, watch movies, build bonfires, etc. It ends with the message that people who identify as non binary look, dress, and sound all kinds of different ways and that gender is something everyone can decide for themselves at any moment in time.
How did the story come about?
For the past three years, I’ve been teaching kindergarten and if you know anything about Kindergarteners you know that they’re endlessly curious about the world around them and they soak up everything we teach them. I’ve witnessed how masterful five and six year olds can be at performing gender and enforcing it on others. I’ve also had the privilege to witness those same students learn about, respect, and defend preferred gender pronouns, such as mine. I found myself telling and retelling my story of being transgender to my students every year, explaining why I use non-binary pronouns, why I say I’m not a girl and I’m not a boy, but I’m both, or how is this even possible? So, I wrote it out one day and decided to pursue its fruition into a full on children’s book.
Who's the illustrator?
Breena Nuñez is a working cartoonist, musician, and youth arts educator born into an immigrant family from El Salvador and Guatemala. The work she produces includes black and white illustrations that are influenced by her identity as a gender nonconforming Central American weirdo from the Bay Area. She previously studied at SFSU with a degree in Visual Communication Design and will soon be studying at California College of the Arts to earn a MFA in Comics. She believes in the power of connecting struggles and marginalized narratives through zines and comic books.
Why is this book a big deal?
There is so much amazing young adult literature out there (and still not enough) that centers transgender and gender nonconforming characters, and yet so few options exist for younger readers. That I know of, there are currently only two children’s books geared towards Kinder - 2nd grade age kids with transgender characters and only one of those explicitly defines and describes "transgender". This book is a necessary addition to the growing body of children’s literature that centers gender identity and Xican@ culture, and is specifically written for the K-2+ age range.
Read alouds are a powerful tool in the classroom. The visuals and lessons in a read aloud really help convey complex messages to kids in a way that makes sense for them. In my classroom, I’ve found that the most powerful read alouds are based on real people’s stories. Kids always ask “Is that person still alive? What happened to them?” They crave to know more and become so invested in the characters and their journeys.
How will the funds be used?
Funds raised here will be used to cover cost of writing, editing, translating, illustrating, designing, obtaining an ISBN number, publishing, distributing, and shipping books out to you!
When will the book be ready?
I am aiming to have the book ready and out into the world by March 2018.
Want to contact me?
email // email@example.com
Want to check out more of Breena's art?
instagram // @breenache
web // breenache.tumblr.com
Risks and challenges
If there are any changes, problems, or delays with the production of the book, I will be sure to communicate them via regular updates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)