True You: A Gender Journey (Hardcover)

True You: A Gender Journey By Gwen Agna, Shelley Rotner (Illustrator), Shelley Rotner Cover Image

True You: A Gender Journey (Hardcover)

$18.99


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There are different ways to show and be who you are in this affirming photographic picture book that offers a celebratory and informative look at kids and their wide-ranging gender identities.

“Sometimes it’s hard when kids say you have to be a boy or a girl when you’re not. Everyone should feel safe to just be who they are.”

Girls, boys, neither, both, or just not sure. Kids are kids! There are different ways to show and be who you are.

It’s up to you—how you feel, how you dress, how you act, how you play, learn, and love.

Who is the true you?

With the permission of their parents, the children in this photographic picture book were recorded and transcribed by authors Gwen Agna and Shelley Rotner as they were photographed. These powerful testimonials paired with a spare narrative and vibrant, joyful portraits offer up a humanizing and moving exploration of kids and how they feel about their true selves.

Gwen Agna has been an educator for more than forty years. Trained in early childhood education, throughout her career she worked to incorporate social justice, anti-bias, and anti-racism in all aspects of classroom practice. She lives in Northampton, MA.



Shelley Rotner is an award-winning author and photo illustrator of more than fifty books for young readers. With a background as an elementary school teacher, museum educational specialist, and UNICEF photographer, Rotner is also a noted freelance photojournalist whose work has appeared in Time magazine, National Geographic’s World magazine, and numerous others. She is best known for portraying diverse children with inclusivity in her books, notably All Kinds of People and Shades of People, where she explores kids’ worlds to raise awareness and to promote curiosity and compassion. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.



Shelley Rotner is an award-winning author and photo illustrator of more than fifty books for young readers. With a background as an elementary school teacher, museum educational specialist, and UNICEF photographer, Rotner is also a noted freelance photojournalist whose work has appeared in Time magazine, National Geographic’s World magazine, and numerous others. She is best known for portraying diverse children with inclusivity in her books, notably All Kinds of People and Shades of People, where she explores kids’ worlds to raise awareness and to promote curiosity and compassion. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063240469
ISBN-10: 0063240467
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: September 6th, 2022
Pages: 48
Language: English

True You is a beautiful tribute to the wonder and diversity of kids, AND the importance of letting kids explore and have agency for themselves. A book like this would likely have drastically improved my life if I’d had it as a kid. A necessary addition to every school library! — Schuyler Bailar, Author of Obie Is Man Enough and creator of the LaneChanger.com Gender Literacy Learning Series

Every page warms my heart. I love the beautiful photos and I appreciate the diversity represented. I hope this book finds its way to kids everywhere. True You is a great learning tool to help make the world a kinder place. — Kai Shappley, trans activist, actress, and author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, Joy, to the World

A beautiful book of beautiful children! A wonderful way for kids to see themselves. — Grace Lin, Newbery, Geisel, and Caldecott honoree author

Look at all these beautiful faces! These children are positively glowing and I firmly believe that’s because each one of them feels free to be their unique and authentic selves. What a wonderful, joyous, affirming, celebratory book—I absolutely love it!  — Lesléa Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies and Sparkle Boy

True You is a must-read celebration of gender. This picture book spotlights a joyful spectrum of identities through the smiles and no-nonsense words of actual children. It also provides extensive resources to affirm and support transgender, nonbinary, cisgender, and questioning youth. This is the book you’re searching for to help older Americans transition from an inflexible sex-based misunderstanding of gender to a future filled with identity freedom for all. — Cory McCarthy, author of Ace Takes Flight

True You: A Gender Journey cheerfully and concisely makes accessible the complexities of gender identity and expression to a younger audience. It provides the absolutely needed service of allowing young people to recognize gender diversity both in themselves and in their peers, presenting many possibilities of both exploration tactics and ways of being. I truly believe this book will allow gender diverse youth to recognize themselves and know that they are not alone, and allow cisgender youth to approach gender diversity from a lens of kindness and potential rather than unfamiliarity and ostracization. — Alexander Petrovnia, founder of the Trans Formations Project 

True You: A Gender Journey joyfully celebrates children and the freedom to be yourself. Told through the voices and experiences of real people, this book offers a lively introduction to gender diversity from credible experts on the topic. — Donalyn Miller, Teacher and Author, The Book Whisperer

“The informative book, which fills a definite need as gender has become increasingly controversial, contains a generous collection of informative back matter, it includes a glossary, letters from a family and a trans woman, sources and resources, and more. If the book has a message, it’s articulated by a young boy who says, “Everyone should feel safe to be who they are.” — Michael Cart — Booklist (starred review)

“Agna and Rotner’s text, presented against brightly colored backgrounds, encourages—“People might think your body is a clue to who you are. It is what you think that matters!”—while Rotner’s photographs capture exuberant self-expression, creating a crucial window and mirror for gender-expansive kids and their loved ones.” — Publishers Weekly