Written by Michelle and Phoenix Finch
Illustrated by Sharon Davey
For a while now I’ve been on the look out for LGBT+ children’s books with strong narratives and of a high quality – so it was an absolute delight when ‘Phoenix Goes To School’ arrived in my inbox from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Phoenix Goes to School is a story to support transgender and gender diverse children, but in my opinion is a vital story for cisgender children too in cultivating an early understanding and empathy towards the transgender community. Written by Michelle and Phoenix Finch, this is the true story of Phoenix – who uses she / her pronouns, having been assigned male at birth, and her journey to starting school. Worried that she may be bullied for her gender identity, this is a heartwarming story about the acceptance of her classmates and demonstrates how Phoenix has approached talking about gender to her friends. It’s both empowering and highly accessible. It offers positive representation to transgender and gender non conforming children, and good role models to those children that may support a transgender friend in their childhood.
Sharon Davey’s illustrations bring this book to life in a vivacious and uplifting way. Finding high quality and beautifully illustrated children’s books that represent the LGBT+ community can be a challenge, but Phoenix Goes to School is both eloquently written and gorgeously illustrated and is a must have for any children’s bookshelf. It also doesn’t sensationalise the transgender narrative, instead it normalises it, which is hugely refreshing.