Looking for some bedtime reading that won’t enforce your child’s cisgender privilege? We’ve got you covered.
Author/illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez’s “Call Me Tree” features a child of a non-specified gender who “actually embodies nature.”
Gonzalez intends for the book to teach children that “it’s ok not to know the gender of a child.” She suggests that parents and classrooms applaud the lack of words like “he” and “she” while reading the book to their children, in order to teach them to be more inclusive.
As she told the Huffington Post, “I chose not to use gender specific pronouns because in my book Gender Now, an educational and activity book for all ages, I explore how ALL of nature reflects multiple levels of gender expression.”
“Our culture has a powerful trend toward the boy-girl gender binary and conformity comes into play from a child’s earliest possible moment,” she said. “By being gender free, Call Me Tree provides for some a much needed break from the constant boy-girl assumptions and requirements.”
She does complain, however, that people have still assumed the main character is a “cisgender boy.” “The main character is actually based on someone assigned girl.”
This is the last book in her trilogy about “how valuable our connection to nature can be.” If you can decipher the following, we commend you:
Call Me Tree takes it to the next level as the child actually embodies nature. In this book I step out of writing from a personal experience and enter a more universal one. Here everyone is the same and everyone is different. As a tree, a part of nature, the child feels their own strength, individuality and belonging and because of this experience they naturally see it and celebrate it in others. “All trees have roots. All trees belong.”