What Are Your Words? – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: What Are Your Words? A Book about Pronouns

Author: Katherine Locke

 Illustrator: Anne Passchier

Publisher: Little Brown, 2021

Ages: 5-8

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.


The book gives links to more sources: mypronouns.org & GLSEN.org

Use the last page and end pages to start a group or individual discussion.

final page

End Pages

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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11 Responses to What Are Your Words? – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I hope my library has it! Thanks, Joanna!

  2. Joanna says:

    You are welcome.

  3. What a great book, Joanna. Thank you for featuring it. I will have to wait a bit to read it as there are 18 holds on the 10 copies currently checked out from my library. But I added a hold to list!

  4. Beth Stilborn says:

    What a fabulous, much-needed book! I scurried to my library’s website, and discovered that five of our branches have copies, and they’re ALL out! That made me very happy. I shall wait my turn.

  5. What an inspiring and unique book that encourages kids to use gender-inclusion pronouns. I like Ari and that his/her family lets him decide how he/she wants to identify for any specific day. Brilliant idea! Yes, checked my library system and there are three holds on this book. Glad that it is receiving so much attention!

  6. I like the idea of trying on pronouns to see which ones fit…on a fluid basis. Because why should anyone have to be any one way? Thanks for the rec, Joanna!

  7. This sounds like a perfect picture book for kids of ALL ages – because we keep on growing and discovering more about ourselves and maybe the words we want change too.

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