Parents' Guide to

Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope

By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Powerful story of affirmation of boy's gender identity.

Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This lovely, heartwarming story about the author's son, Penelope, is a testament to the power of love and affirmation. Born Ready is relayed in the first person voice of Penelope himself, which puts his perspective front and center. It's also got many elements young kids will connect with -- from Pen's frustration that the people in his life don't see who he is to his love of skateboards, math, science, and karate to his ninja identity, readers will "get" Penelope from page one. The shift from Pen's coming out as a boy to his hard work preparing for a karate tournament shows the power of what it means to be loved and supported: He can now focus on achieving his big life goals.

The digital illustrations with handmade watercolor accenting are full of expressive faces and dynamic movement (kids will especially appreciate the skateboarding page and karate kicks). Penelope is surrounded by a joyful and affirming Black family and community, an important representation in kid's books. That it's also a true story will leave readers hopeful and inspired by Penelope's affirming world.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate