This beautiful book is probably my top recommendation, and personally the most moving picture book I’ve come across in years. It’s not driven by a plot, instead simply following its protagonist through a range of messy, wild, smart and competitive activities as she gleefully reminds those she meets “I’m a girl”, despite their assuming otherwise.
It’s stylistically stunning, with brilliant colours and design. Ismail captures the energy of the central character so perfectly in the illustrations, and the text in speech bubbles alongside the main narrative makes it perfect for reading as a pair or even a group, with “I’M A GIRL” acting as a read-along chorus.
What’s good about the book?
Gaps in the storytelling leave room for interpretation in the best way possible, giving the book a really strong and powerful trans reading without being heavy-handed. The coding of the character – her appearance, her behaviour, and the reactions of others to her, are spot on for opening up questions about what it means to be a girl, or why people might make assumptions around gender.
What is less good?
Notes on the author
Ismail has illustrated a fair few books, but her best work is definitely the stuff she’s authored too, especially since I’m A Girl was published in 2015. Her work is full of boisterous and brave female characters, and charming sensitivity. Her most recent, Nothing!, is definitely worth a read.
Good for starting conversations on…