Part of my job is processing all the new incoming books and putting our property stamp on them and barcodes, so I get to also see all the adorable new kid’s books too with wonderful gorgeous art in them but ANYWAYS THIS NEW ONE CAME IN AND

cover of braille book titled "it feels good to be yourself"

“It Feels Good To Be Yourself. A book about gender identity” written by Theresa Thorn and illustrated by Noah Grigni. The cover shows the four main characters, one is a transgender girl, two are nonbinary in different ways, and one is a cis boy who is the little brother to the trans girl.

I typically don’t read the kids books even when they are super cute but this one I HAD to read. So I start reading. And I just–

Here’s a few pages: (short image description below)

cover of braille book titled "it feels good to be yourself"
cover of braille book titled "it feels good to be yourself"
cover of braille book titled "it feels good to be yourself"
cover of braille book titled "it feels good to be yourself"
cover of braille book titled "it feels good to be yourself"

Quick image description: Above are 5 pictures I took of pages that I really liked and made me extra happy. The first two are back to back pages of the book’s introduction of JJ, who is a wheelchair user and is “neither a girl or a boy” and uses they/them pronouns. This is the text from the next two back to back pages depicting the four friends playing outside and coloring on the sidewalk: “Some kids don’t feel exactly like a girl or a boy – they feel like neither. Some kids feel like their gender identity isn’t always the same – it’s often changing.” [Next page] “And even with all these possible ways to be, some kids don’t feel like any of the words they know fit them exactly right. There are a never-ending number of ways to be yourself in the world.” The last page shows Ruthie after she came out to her parents as transgender. Her whole family (mom, dad, little brother, her, and a dog on the side) are hugging. The text reads “Oops! Ruthie was a girl all along – they just didn’t know it at first.” End ID.

SO OBVIOUSLY IM ALMOST SOBBING AT WORK NOW OMG

This book is absolutely beautiful and so sweet and I encourage everyone to go see if they can borrow it at their library. It’s a quick 2-3 min read, maybe 15 if you start getting emotional like my queer little heart did. I’m assuming there’s a regular print version more widely available, and maybe a LT version too, and if my Hawaii library has a copy of the braille version I’m guessing others already have it too.

OH AND HERE’S THE BACK COVER I DIDNT NOTICE UNTIL AFTER I PROCESSED IT AND THIS PART REALLY GOT ME OKAY (text written below)

cover of braille book titled "it feels good to be yourself"

“No matter what your gender identity is, you are okay exactly the way you are. And you are loved.”

I live for terrible art. Note: I don’t like art that is intentionally or ironically terrible, I like things that are just so earnestly inept and/or bizarre that they fail as what they are trying to be but horseshoe back around into glorious postmodernistic portraits of their creators.

I went to a Goodwill today (my friend needed help carrying a couch and we practiced good social distancing!) and I found a DOOZY of a book. It’s called Decoded Dog, so I picked it up thinking “oh cool, a book about dog behavior or genetics or something, relevant to my blog an interests!” - I was NOT PREPARED for “A Canine Mystery Novel”

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Then I turn it over and BOY HOWDY did I strike gold.

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So it’s speculative fiction about a dog pandemic that takes a hard left into the guardrail about 2/3rds of the way through and becomes a big pharma conspiracy thriller with what seems to be (from the brief skimming I did in the car on the way home) a concerning amount of anti-vax sentiment. The author is a PhD geneticist and standard poodle enthusiast, so there are literal whole pages passive-aggressively espousing the merits of poodles written with the poetic nuance of a hard-science dissertation. The rest of the book is mostly pages upon pages of dense, stilted exposition trying desperately to explain graduate-level virology to an audience that would buy a “canine mystery novel”. The author also apparently rescues poodles with Addison’s disease, so there is a ton of information about canine Addison’s shoehorned in throughout - like, enough that it feels like paid product placement but for an adrenal disorder.

Overall, this book is topical, timely, dogs. 14/10 absolute masterpiece that I am so excited to dive into whole hog, please stay tuned for a review of the whole book