It’s My Body! is an exuberant, kid-friendly nonfiction picture-book primer on body positivity. Simple, direct sentences celebrate “ALL KINDS” of bodies and kick-start a convivial conversation about how to be your body’s best friend.
Governor General’s Award–winning author-illustrator Elise Gravel’s signature quirky characters are in fine form. The endearingly wacky, googly-eyed monsters who populate these pages have their own unique shapes, sizes, colours, and abilities. The gallery includes a long-legged critter who looks like a pink wad of bubble gum on stilts, a round blue rascal with a toothy grin, and a reddish tube-shaped imp waving hello.
Full of pep, the cartoon illustrations showcase monsters in motion. Some of the exercising, playing, and dancing creatures use assistive devices including glasses, hearing aids, and wheelchairs, and all enjoy the feats their bodies can perform. The relatable text acknowledges the delicate mind–body connection: “Sometimes we feel good in our bodies, and sometimes we don’t.” Monsters have self-doubts too; one laments, “Are my horns too pointy?” while another confesses, “I like my eyes, but not my nose!” Combining laughs with thoughtful lessons, this robust resource also offers tips on how to treat your body with kindness and keep it “HEALTHY AND HAPPY.”
Not only is Gravel a marvellous monster maven, she is an indisputable children’s champion (honoured in 2019 with the Rights and Freedoms Award from the Quebec Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse). Affirmations like “Your body belongs to YOU and only you!” lead to a discussion of boundaries. Gravel is adept at breaking down big concepts into easily understood core truths: “Nobody should touch your body in ways that you don’t like. Other people have these rights too. You shouldn’t touch their bodies without asking first.” Sample social scenarios play out in the comic panels, making sense of consent and teaching kids that it is perfectly fine to choose high-fives over hugs when preferred.
With monster-sized aplomb and panache, Gravel delivers a message that can’t be heard enough: every body is worthy of love and respect.