Transphobia: Deal With It, by j. wallace skelton (2017)

Transphobia: Deal With It, by J. Wallace SkeltonThis is a new release from James Lorimer Books, the latest in the “Deal With It” series which tackles discrimination issues in colourful, illustrated books aimed primarily at middle school readers. In just 32 pages, readers learn what transphobia is and how they can be “gender transcenders.” The book opens with Transphobia 101, including a quiz to help readers identify situations of transphobia, just plain sexism, or simply lack of understanding. Using age-appropriate and accessible language and cartoon-like drawings, skelton and illustrator Nick Johnson collaborate to help readers learn how to respond to various scenarios in order to create a safe and supportive space for all genders. I particularly liked the advice-column style sections by Conflict Counselor and Dr. Shrink Wrapped, and the Gender Explorer Quiz which offers answer options that are Flare Up / Put Up / Speak Up. It is informative reading for adults as well as kids. And in The Witness Quiz, potential allies can explore ways to speak up and stand up as a defender, but also leaves space for readers to report an incident to someone they trust, or even choose to stay silent for safety reasons. Finally, as this is a Canadian publication, there are resources and interesting factoids useful for Canadian kids who want to learn more. While it’s a sad commentary that such a book is even needed, I’m glad it’s been published. It will be a welcome addition to school and public library shelves in Canada, and will have appeal in other English-speaking countries as well. My thanks to publisher James Lorimer for the advance reading copy provided in exchange for my honest review.
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