Review: BEING JAZZ by Jazz Jennings

BEING JAZZ: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen
by Jazz Jennings
Published: June 7th 2016 
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased (Target has signed copies!)

Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series "I Am Jazz" making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. 

In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn't all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence particularly high school complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy especially when you began your life in a boy's body. 

My Thoughts:

How inspirational is Jazz! Admittedly, I do not read much non-fiction and this is my first YA non-fiction. I was fascinated by Jazz's journey and how supportive her family and community are. I wish every child had the support they need, no matter what their journey includes. That was the resounding message across the book: kids need supportive adults and communities. 

Her story is not without adversity. It would be unrealistic had she not faced some challenges along the way. This memoir of her childhood and adolescence shares how she was successful and also gives great tips on talking with transgender youth. It's a great read for young adults and grown ups alike. There's a compilation of resources in the back and full color photos representing important parts of Jazz's life. The book is a holistic picture of her experiences, interests, and dreams. It's educational without being preachy. 

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This review is part of our #PrideMonth #ReadProudListenProud coverage. Be sure to visit us throughout the week for reviewsrecapslinks, and interviews to celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and loved ones. Tell us, who inspires you? 


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