Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Am Jazz

I have debated sharing about this book for a few weeks now.  I have talked about it with friends just to see if they think I am way off base.  I have thought about it some more.  

Before I start, you should know that I am conservative. But I don't believe in censoring. I might tell my children that a movie or television show is not ok to watch, but I don't think I have ever said the same about a book.  

A few weeks ago we picked up I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings.

It looked cute.  As we began reading about a boy who liked to dress up like a girl and enjoyed more girly things I began to feel like I might know where this story was heading.  

And yes, I turned the page only to have the big reveal that Jazz is transgender.

I suggested to my daughter that we read a different book, but she of course wanted to keep going.

As a parent, I am not sure that I think my daughter needs to know about transgenders when she is just eight years old.  She had no idea that anything like this even existed.  The idea is a little confusing....if a boy plays with dolls does that make them transgender?

I will admit the topic of transgender is done well in this book, simplified for children and without the drama and emotion the parents must feel about dealing with a child who is transgendered.  My daughter wanted to know if this is a true story and liked the photographs at the end of Jazz as a boy AND a girl.

However, her overall comment about this story: creepy. 

I Am Jazz is no doubt an important book and one that a few children will definitely identify with. And I will note that after looking at reviews on Amazon I am definitely in the minority. Nearly every review applauds this book and the need for children to know that everyone should be accepted for who they are.

I agree that accepting others is something we should help our children do.  And Jazz should be accepted, but my mistake was not reading the inside flap, and knowing what this book was about before I read it to Little Sister.  

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