NONFICTION

Seeing Gender: An Illustrated Guide to Identity and Expression

Chronicle. Oct. 2019. 208p. pap. $27.50. ISBN 9781452176611.
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Gr 7 Up–Gender, especially when explored through an intersectional lens, can be a fraught and overwhelming topic. Gottlieb takes on the complexities of gender in the modern world through easy-to-digest writing, humor, and powerful illustrations. It’s like a series of informative Twitter threads compressed into a book. Despite the brevity, terminology and concepts are explained fully. Each bright spread can stand alone, making this the perfect book to flip through at leisure, while those wanting a deep dive will devour the text cover to cover. Included are short biographies of historical figures and pop culture icons who influenced our understanding of gender. The volume concludes with a poignant section on the author’s transition. Gottlieb also covers the connections among sexual assault, race, nationality, poverty, and mental health. Back matter includes help lines, advocacy resources, and recommendations for poetry, essays, and novels to further explore the ideas presented here. Though this text takes on some heavy material, overall, it’s hopeful and understanding. If a book can be friendly, this is the one. It’s engaging and acknowledges that people are fallible, which will comfort teens who have made mistakes while trying to support friends.
VERDICT Give this to anyone who exists in a gendered society. (Which means, as the book points out, everyone.) Highly recommended for school and public libraries.

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