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My Maddy
2020
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Kirkus Reviews

A loving, celebratory window into a young child's relationship with their nonbinary parent. The latest in Pitman's LGBTQ books for children introduces young readers to a parent whose gender identity and expression are "entirely fantastically their own"—not a mommy or a daddy, but "my Maddy." Told from the perspective of a light-skinned, redheaded child, the story normalizes what's "in between, and kind of both," which is everywhere in nature, from dawn ("it's not day and it's not night," Maddy explains) to the color hazel (a mix between green and brown). Vignettes from the main characters' everyday lives are vibrantly depicted in artist Tobacco's bold, full-bleed illustrations, including walks to school, snacktime, and stories before bed. Particularly noteworthy is the heartwarming scene when Maddy kisses their kid goodbye before dropping them off at school: Beside a glowing portrait of the beaming family, the text reads, "Maddy's kisses feel like sandpaper against my face." Such positive images of gender-nonconforming presentations are rare in children's lite rature, making this a valuable addition to any school, public, or personal library for its engaging art and accessible representation for a wide age range. The adult-oriented backmatter uses person-first language and identifies the book's inspiration as intersex; notes on intersex identity and supporting children in understanding their parents' genders are accompanied by resources. Unfortunately, one of these is the Human Rights Campaign, known for its fraught relationship with trans communities. Much needed in the landscape of family-oriented picture books. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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