What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns
By John Sooja,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Charming, gender-inclusive picture book teaches pronouns.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Super-friendly presentation of pronouns and why pronouns matter.
Strong positive messages of inclusivity, diversity, and identity. Finding the right words doesn't have to happen quickly, and they can change every day.
Positive Role Models
Inclusive representation is strong as different kinds of people with different skin tones and gender presentations are shown doing a variety of things and activities. The main character, Ari, is a curious, eager, and kind little kid who just wants to figure out the right words. He shows perseverance, communication, and gratitude. Ari's family is also full of kind, helpful, and loving people.
Violence & Scariness
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns is a charming picture book that introduces pronouns, what they are, and why they are important for many people. There's even a story that follows little Ari and his family as they make their way to the neighborhood summer bash. Along the way, they meet all their neighborhood friends and families, many of whom use a variety of different pronouns when describing and/or referring to themselves. Ari introduces you to everyone, and everyone is incredibly diverse (people have different skin tones, abilities, and gender presentations). Inclusivity is one of the missions here, and this book pleasantly succeeds.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
In WHAT ARE YOUR WORDS?: A BOOK ABOUT PRONOUNS, Ari is a little kid who is exploring how words feel on them. Some days, certain words feel right, but other days, those same words might feel not right. As they and their neighbors get ready for the big summer bash, Ari tries on different pronouns until they are satisfied with they and them. Throughout, everyone has words that hover over their heads that each describe them in some way. These words can be interests or emotions or even a job. And the person's chosen set of pronouns are shown prominently in each word cluster.
Is It Any Good?
This picture book is written and illustrated by nonbinary creators who offer a happy and charming introduction to pronouns. Many readers will feel like What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns should be in every K-3 classroom, if not in the family rotation at home. The message is educational, positive, and inclusive. The presentation is cheerful, bright, and clean. And the story is simple, which is great, because as each neighbor is introduced, different pronouns are highlighted. This method is charming because it isn't flatly teaching pronouns. Rather, embedded in an easy little story (going to the summer bash to see the fireworks), Ari gets to show off a variety of different pronouns but also gets to try them on for themselves, to see how they feel. The only drawback is that some of the art doesn't have backgrounds, leaving some pages feeling a little sparse. For younger readers, a few pages may be a little dense.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the pronouns in What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns. Which ones sound good to you?
Why might it be important to use the "right words" when speaking to people?
What other words, in addition to pronouns, might you use to describe yourself?
- Author: Katherine Locke
- Illustrator: Anne Passchier
- Genre: Picture Book
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: May 25, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Hardback
- Last updated: June 2, 2021
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Where to Read
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