February is a month to celebrate for Psyched Writer! Along with Valentine's Day, it is our Blog-iversary. Three years in the books! I'm counting on you to help me celebrate! Comment on this month's blog post and you will be eligible to win the book for February, Red, A Crayon's Story. I will randomly pick a winner (U.S. only) from the comments on the last day of February. Stay tuned!
A Book Review of Red, A Crayon's Story
Eventually, purple crayon accepted him for who he was and recognized his value. This provided Red the confidence that he needed to move forward. Red reached self-acceptance for who he truly was and gained the courage to verbalize "I'm blue." This set him free. Once he was free to be his authentic self, he was accepted by the other crayons.
Did you catch the metaphor? This book examines the journey of a transgender person working through gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is defined as the discomfort and distress caused by a discrepancy between a person's gender identity (blue crayon) and their assigned sex at birth (red label). There is also some blending between the colors in the book to create new colors. This is not only an art lesson in color mixing, it represents a powerful point. The point is that color, or gender, are not absolute. They can be blended and explored to create a continuim of colors (or gender). Thus, gender can be on a spectrum, ranging from very male to very female and everthing in between.
Why is this book appropriate for young children? Some children as young as 3 years old start to question their gender. Some are able to verbalize this feeling, for example, "My body is a boy, but I'm a girl." Or, "My parts don't match who I am." Or simply by insisting repeatedly that they are the other gender. Research shows that about 75% of transgender adults began experiencing gender dysphoria between the ages of 4.5 and 7. Therefore, it is in the best interest of gender-questioning young children to see themselves in literature and to not feel alone with their feelings.
This book is equally important for those who aren't in the situation of questioning their sexual identity. If children learn about the transgender experience at a young age, they are more likely to become accepting. If we can develop openess for differences early on, our society will be all the better for it. Sadly, the crayon society is leaps and bounds ahead of us in learning acceptance.
Transgender individuals are vulnerable in our society. They are often the victims of teasing, bullying, and physical abuse. Due to this intolerance, the rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide are extremely high among this group. It is crucial for the mental health of all humans to be able to live their best lives as their authentic selves.
Since this blog post is already long, and I have much more to say, I'm going to continue with this topic next month. I will be in search of another amazing book on gender identity/questioning to review! March's post will be focused on addressing the needs of the gender questioning child. Make sure to check out the fun exercise below!
If you wish to purchase this book, click HERE. Or better yet, purchase it at an independent bookstore near you.
An Activity Idea for Red, A Crayon's Story
-Crayons or markers
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