Title: What Are Your Words? A Book about Pronouns
Author: Katherine Locke
Illustrator: Anne Passchier
Publisher: Little Brown, 2021
Format/Genre: concept book
Themes: personal pronouns, adjectives, respect, words, gender fluidity, lgbtqia+,
My Uncle Lior is coming to visit today! I can’t wait to show them around my neighborhood. And I can’t wait for all my neighbors to meet them.
Follow Ari through their neighborhood as they try to find their words. .
Whenever Ari’s Uncle Lior comes to visit, they ask Ari one question: “What are your words?” Some days Ari uses she/her. Other days Ari uses he/him. But on the day of the neighborhood’s big summer bash, Ari doesn’t know what words to use. On the way to the party, Ari and Lior meet lots of neighbors and learn the words each of them use to describe themselves, including pronouns like she/her, he/him, they/them, ey/em, and ze/zir. As Ari tries on different pronouns, they discover that it’s okay to not know your words right away–sometimes you have to wait for your words to find you.
Why I like this book:
This is a sweet, accessible introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns, filled with bright, graphic illustrations. It is a simple and poignant story about finding yourself, which includes gender identity and many other descriptions. I love the fluidity, and that Young Ari is given the space to decide how they want to identify on any given day, and the inclusion of other words, like “loyal”, “mechanic”, “artistic”, and “generous” to show that we all have many traits and layers of ourselves, and pronouns are just another way to communicate a part of ourselves with others.
The illustrations are very inclusive and cover a variety of people including those with/without disabilities, different skin tones, clothes, and gender expression.
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