The topic of body image has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe it’s because being pregnant, I’m suddenly more aware of my body than every before (mostly since there’s more of me to love so I’m constantly bumping into things.) Or maybe it’s because I’m thinking more about how I want to raise my kid. How am I going to help him develop healthy food and exercise habits? How will I help him feel confident in his own body? These are all questions that had been bouncing around my brain.
This issue–which I think just about every kid and teen dealt with at some point in their lives–is one that should be discussed in children’s and teen literature. What shocks me, though, is that when it comes the number of novels that actually address body image, there are shockingly few. Sure, you can find shelves upon shelves of diet books or nutrition books, but that’s not what kids and teens are reading, right?
This week, I have decided to dedicate some time and space on my blog to discussing this very important issue. Wednesday, I’ll be hosting the awesome Katrina Kittle, author of Reasons to Be Happy, which is a book that addresses body image distortion (and eating disorders) for middle grade readers. As you may already know, just as there are few books that deal with body image for kids in general, most of the books that do address this issue are targeted to teens. The fact that Reasons to Be Happy is written for a younger audience really makes it unique among body image books.
Thursday I plan to post a list of books for kids and teens that address body image. I already have a few on my list, but would love to hear your suggestions as well. If you have suggestions for books to put on the list, please leave a comment below! My hope is that if we all put our heads together, we can come up with a solid list of books that deal with this issue. Finally, on Friday Ghenet and I will be discussing body image in teen literature, in our weekly YA Cafe post.
Starting with today’s post, I’ll be running a series about body image in kid’s and teen literature. My goal is to start a dialogue where we can discuss how books for kids and teens handle body image and also how we, as writers and adults, can play a positive role in helping kids feel confident in their own bodies. But more importantly, for us to be role models, we must also recognize that we are beautiful, just as we are.
Which is why this week, if you’re on twitter, please join the conversation. I’ll be using the hash tag #whatmakesmebeautiful to share tweets about ways I’ve become confident in my own body image, and I invite you to do the same. So tell me, what makes you beautiful?