What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns
Author: Katherine Locke
Illustrator: Anne Passchier
Published in 2021 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
What Are Your Words? is a lovely and accessible story for introducing gender inclusive pronouns. When Uncle Lior comes to visit Ari, they ask, “What are your words?” Ari explains that “there are lots of words to say who people are and how they feel. Some of those words are pronouns.” Sometimes Ari’s words are she and her, sometimes Ari’s words are he and him. Sometimes Ari knows exactly which pronouns feel right, and sometimes it takes a little time to figure it out.
On the day of their big neighborhood bash, Ari feels confused and disheartened, not knowing what words feel right today. On the way to the neighborhood gathering, readers meet many friends of Ari and Uncle Lior, and we see some of the words that people use to describe their dynamic identities — creative, athletic, thoughtful, they/them, sister, teacher, curious, she/her, and ze/zir, among many others. I especially appreciate how this book showcases an incredible range of diverse words that honor and celebrate all the beautiful things that make a person who they are.
Surrounded by support and reassurance from neighbors and loved ones, Ari is able to enjoy the neighborhood party and finally feel at peace when their perfect pronouns find them. What Are Your Words? takes an accessible and loving approach to understanding our dynamic identities and all the compassionate ways we can describe who we are and how we feel. This book is an uplifting affirmation for introducing conversations about identity, supporting readers who are exploring their own identity, and acknowledging how unique and intricate our identities can be.
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