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Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen Hardcover – June 7, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Rainbow Award Winner, 2016
“Her story is an important addition to the slender but growing body of transgender literature and belongs in every library.” —Booklist, starred review
"For readers looking for a candid introduction to some of the issues facing trans children and teens, this book is an excellent start." —Publishers Weekly
"The teen's successes and nearly limitless self-confidence and optimism will be reassuring for the family and friends of trans youth." —SLJ
Praise for the picture book I Am Jazz:
“Jazz is a sensitive and courageous young woman. Her story is inspiring and important to read. By sharing her experiences and view she has added to our understanding and compassion for the transgender experience.” —Barbara Walters
“Jazz [is] an eloquent spokesperson for transgender kids.” —Katie Couric
“I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty.” —Laverne Cox, acclaimed actress and transgender advocate
“A terrific and timely book that explains to kids what it means to be transgender and — more importantly — that reminds kids our similarities are much more important than our differences.” —New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult
“All young people — regardless of difference — deserve the things Jazz shares in her lovely book: a loving family, supportive friends, and the freedom to be their true selves. A beautifully illustrated and accessible primer on one trans girl's journey of living her truth.” —Janet Mock, New York Times Bestselling author of Redefining Realness
“I Am Jazz is honest, inspiring, and beautiful—but its greatest strength is it never apologizes for being different.” —New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer
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I would wish all our politicians would read a book such as this, or even better, talk to some actual persons with non-typical gender idenitty, before passing legislation in areas in which they have no actual experience.
Jazz's story intrigued me as I don't know or have not met anyone (that I know of) who is transgender. The only thing I have learned is what is reported/portrayed in the mainstream media or what I've read on the internet. I was interested in learning more, especially from someone's firsthand experience. Reading is the next best thing to actually talking/spending time with someone.
I read this book in less than a week. It was an easy read filled with a great deal of information regarding Jazz's life thus far and how her family has been involved every step of the way supporting and advocating for her. It would be ideal if more people could be more like Jazz's parents/family/friends. Hopefully through this book (as well as the other avenues Jazz utilizes) will help open some eyes and hearts.
I'd highly recommend this book as it was interesting, informative and entertaining. Jazz's parents have raised a wonderful young lady despite the challenges she has had to face and overcome.
Top international reviews
The oblique answer is, this is Jazz Jennings. She took on the world at 6 years old by coming out as transgender. She has successfully stood up to and over came the United States Soccer Federation, successive schools, the press. Co-founded a national organisation, TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, promoting tolerance and acceptance for transgender children everywhere. She has appeared in a number of TV shows to discuss her issues, including two seasons of a series dedicated to her personally, I Am Jazz. Been granted numerous awards, including Time Magazine's "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014". Appeared in TV commercials. Appointed a Grand Marshal in New York City's Gay Pride Parade, Met the President of the United States, written 2 books and somehow managed to achieve first class marks in her school work.
So, this young woman has quite a lot to write about.
Along with the rest of the world, I first saw her as a typically cute 6 year old girl telling her story on TV. She was starting a remarkable story.
She has inspired so many, not just other young people. She's set standard of expectation for society to match up to. A standard of respect and rights for all transgender people. She's taken more flak that most could or should. She's defied convention and shown that those very conventions are grounded, not in any social standard of decency or necessity, but in ignorance and intolerance.
The book consists of 20 chapters, each dealing, more or less, with an issue. Many are typical for young people everywhere, such as being subjected to a period of isolation bullying, though it somehow seems more unfair when it happens to someone else.
Others, understandably, more personal to her life.
It begins describing her struggle to convince, first her mother, then everyone else that she is indeed a girl. Her struggles at school to be accepted. Her meetings with journalists and ultimately, Barbara Walters and the broadcast which brought little Jazz to the world.
It goes onto describe her battles to be permitted to play soccer, make friends and be the figurehead behind a major Transgender group, Transkids, Purple Rainbow Foundation.
At every stage in her struggles, at ever disappointment, every success, every plan, every surprise, are her mother and father, backing her up, demonstrating what all good parents instinctively know, that children thrive when encouraged and supported.
The writing isn't high brow, it's more chatty. Its easy to read, never self indulgent, nor self pitying or overly opinionated. There are times of sudden fun and humour, and times of sudden sadness and sorrow. It is a feel good book, a story of success.
More importantly, it's a book about a loving, insightful mother who will go the extra mile for her children, a dad, cautious, thoughtful and who rises like a lion to defend his own and a family that is there for each other.
And it's about Jazz.
A pleasure to read, this book might take you back to a time of your youth that you might have already forgotten.
You’ll be revolted at how much bigotry there is still left in the world to fight against, but also happy for how there’s also so much support.
We have to choose better who we want to let in our lives, and stop letting others control us.
To Jazz Jennings, please keep inspiring everyone to live their dreams and to become who they truly are. To fight and to be fearless.
A wonderful addition to the ever growing library of trans related literature.