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Review: As I Am by Celeste Finn

book review Jan 31, 2023

Celeste Finn's As I Am is a charming and easy-to-understand book about being nonbinary. This preschool/early elementary book features Kai and their cat Sky. Kai is a nonbinary person who feels most loved by Sky, who doesn't judge them for who they are.



"Since I was a baby, Sky would give me head nudges and squishy cuddles. She didn't care if I was a boy or a girl" (p.14).


Kai struggles to fit in with their friends and at school. It is hard to be understood by people who know their gender in a world that categorizes us as boys or girls. While Kai wants to fit in, Kai doesn't feel either of those words fits who they are. This makes them feel lonely and unseen sometimes, but not always. 


"But I've made some friends who see and love the real me" (p. 30).


The story shows that we all want to be known, seen, and loved for who we are. This can be by our family, friends, or even our pet. In addition, rigid gender roles are causing children to feel isolated and out of place. It's a beautiful book to introduce your child to what it means to be nonbinary in a simple and easy-to-understand way. 


At 40 pages, As I Am is perfect for reading aloud or reading along with. It would make a charming addition to your at-home or classroom library. Celeste Finn, the author, uses She/Her pronouns. The editors are Kari Becken (They/Them), Jay Bulbulian Wells (They/Them), Lauren Jurgensen (She/Her), and Alex Kapitan. Kristina Neudakhina is the illustrator. In addition to the story, there is a 22-page gender guide at the back of the book. Its purpose is to help caregivers of young children better understand gender and create gender-affirming spaces for young children. 100% of the book's profits are being reinvested into getting the book out into the world and supporting gender-affirming care. 



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