HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: I Am Jazz
Authors: Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Illustrator: Shelagh McNicholas
Publisher: Dial Books, 2014
Related website(s): http://www.penguin.com/youngreaders (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Said to be for ages 4 – 8 years (Grade level: Preschool – 3)
Rating: No stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: NOT recommended
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Herthel, Jessica, and Jennings, Jazz. I Am Jazz (Published in 2014 by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014). Jared Jennings was born a boy, but from the time he was two years old, he claims that he had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body and says that he was born that way. He loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like imself in boys’ clothing. This confused his family, until they took him to a new doctor who said that Jazz was transgender, so they let him be a girl and changed his name to Jazz. This story of a transgender child is based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere. Barbara Walters said, “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” (no surprise there).
I Am Jazz is described as a “picture book”—i.e., for young children. It is the first and perhaps the most infamous of a series of such books recently mentioned by Wil and Meeke Addison on their American Family Radio program “Airing the Addisons, along with It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni; A Kids Book About Being Transgender by Gia Parr; Boys Can Wear Dresses and Skirts Coloring Book With Positive Affirmations: A Gender Non-Conforming Coloring Book For Kids and Tweens—Empowering Inclusive Diverse Children by Purple Prince Press; My Awesome Brother: A Children’s Book About Transgender Acceptance by Lise Frances; Trans Kids and Teens: Pride, Joy, and Families in Transition by Elijah C. Nealy; Trans Kids: Being Gendered in the Twenty-First Century by Tey Meadow; Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno (for Ages: 5 – 8 years); George (published by Scholastic Gold—again no surprise there) by Alex Gino; and Calvin by J.R. Ford and Vanessa Ford.
All these books are aimed at children, some as young as kindergarten or even pre-school, to promote “transgenderism” or at least the acceptance of it by making it sound normal and creating sympathy for those who flaunt it. Conveniently, but thankfully, we are spared any references to Jazz’s genitalia. But if “she” still has a male package, “she” is still a boy, no matter what she says, thinks, and feels (and imagine what issues that can cause when “she” is allowed to use the girl’s bathroom!). And if she doesn’t, well that’s just plain, old mutilation. Gender dysphoria, which the book says is “something children can’t control, and therefore society needs to embrace them,” used to be considered a mental illness that needed to be treated and cured, but is now deemed a “civil right” to be celebrated and even encouraged. The bottom line of this review is that “they” are out to get “our” kids. And “they” seem to be winning.