by Blue Jaryn (Author) Xochitl Cornejo (Illustrator)
"I'm not sure I'm a boy... so maybe he is not best for me."
Payden has always used he/him pronouns, until one day Payden realizes those words might not fit. Payden's parents promise to throw a big party to introduce whatever pronouns Payden chooses--but which pronouns are the best match? On a colorful quest, Payden talks to friends about a rainbow of possibilities: he, she, they, ze, and so many more! The right pronouns are just waiting to be tried on.
Put on your party hats and learn about the magical variety of pronouns in this thoughtful story that imagines a world of unquestioning support for gender exploration, celebrates all the different ways a person can present, and provides a blueprint for people of any age who are pondering what gender means to them.
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Payden's parents are supportive when their child embraces "e, em, and eir" pronouns; they even offer to throw a party to celebrate. But while considering what pronouns feel right, Payden, who's portrayed with tan skin, first visits some friends: vet Hank, a cisgender man; artist Shay, a trans woman; nonbinary musical inventor Theo; and dancer Zoe, who uses she and ze pronouns. Each tells Payden how their pronouns make them feel (like they're flying, like a hug, like dancing), and their different perspectives lead em to decide on pronouns that sound "just right." As friends arrive at the party celebrating Payden's neopronouns, Cornejo's softly luminous art captures their communal enthusiasm alongside the racially inclusive group's costumes and pronoun badges. Jaryn's reassuring language shows that gender exploration doesn't have to be painful, instead emphasizing the "skin-tingling, warm sense of wholeness" that self-discovery can bring. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 4--Payden has always been a "he," but meets different people who have figured out their pronouns and so listens hard for the one that may be a better fit. It's not easy. Along the way, Payden's parents provide full support of both the process and the outcome, and the illustrations are just as positive and upbeat. For any library that has received requests for kid-friendly books to help understand the importance of pronouns, this book fits the bill. The author gives an age-appropriate look into the process of determining one's preferred pronouns and also provides a nice blueprint for helping families navigate the process. Payden works through personal questions with the help of the parents, and they celebrate the answers together with friends and a dress-up party. Whimsical illustrations help elucidate complex topics and make the story fun for readers as young as kindergarten. VERDICT All elementary ages will enjoy this invitation to understand and embrace conversations around pronouns.--Darby WallaceCopyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
[A] wonderful celebration of gender diversity [...] The cartoonish illustrations, filled with comic details, make this relatable search story extra engaging. —Booklist, starred review
Gender exploration's a blast in this story about finding your 'just right' pronouns. —Kirkus Reviews
Jaryn's reassuring language shows that gender exploration doesn't have to be painful, instead emphasizing the 'skin-tingling, warm sense of wholeness' that self-discovery can bring. —Publishers Weekly
Whimsical illustrations help elucidate complex topics and make the story fun for readers as young as kindergarten. All elementary ages will enjoy this invitation to understand and embrace conversations around pronouns. —School Library Journal