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By Diane Wiens (she/her), teacher, Sooke

I had the pleasure of attending the book launch for Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words this summer in Victoria. The book, edited by Dr. Lindsay Herriot and Kate Fry, is a collection of stories, poetry, essays, and artwork written by transgender youth aged 10–18 organized into seven thematic chapters, including childhood, families, and acceptance, among others.

At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for further readings on the chapter’s topic and a section answering the question “What Can I Do Now?” This section includes tips for readers to encourage further reflection on the topic.

The poetry and stories included in this book are so powerful and poignant that it is easy to forget the writers are so young, and often heartbreaking when you remember that they are. The topics contained in this book are often heavy: the young writers discuss bullying, self-hatred, suicidal ideation, and mental health struggles.

I found the “What Can I Do Now?” section works to balance the pain that is often included in the stories. The actionable ideas in this section allow readers to help support trans youth they come into contact with in their own lives.

This book is written for adults, but is accessible for middle and secondary students. It would make a powerful professional development book for teachers, or a perfect addition to a Grade 7–12 classroom library.

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