Last month, through a post shared by my friend and fellow writer Katje van Loon, I heard about an artist seeking parent bloggers to review her new colouring book. It wasn’t just any colouring book but a colouring book about gender identity. Yes, please! So here is my review of The Genderific Coloring Book by Sophie LaBelle.
This colouring book is filled with fun images that bring awareness to the fact that gender isn’t as simple as girl/boy/boy/girl or as simple as looking at someone and saying, “Bam! Girl!” (And if you did say those exact words, the person in question would likely run away.) The images presented in the book range from the realistic (children dressing up, roller skating, etc.) to the fantastical (dragons, giant pangolins, etc).
Here is a picture of mermaids my daughter and I coloured:
Do cats have genders? There are a couple of pages in the book asking exactly that. Here’s my child’s answer to one of them:
Cybercat is totally a gender.
This book makes a great addition to our homelearning environment. It challenges ideas of what makes a girl/boy/other gendered-person and creates empowerment for children (and adults) to decide what their own gender is. There is a page with the picture of a child and a banner that says, “My Gender is _______.”
My daughter was a bit confused about the term gender, as I suppose we hadn’t gone very in-depth about it before. It would have been useful if the colouring book had a quick glossary for gender terms. Then again, it provided a starting point for a discussion with my child about gender, and that works, too.
As for what colouring media work best on the paper, crayons work well and markers work fairly well. There is little bleed-through with markers on the back of the page. I did notice a couple pictures transferred marker marks onto the opposite page, so I advise making sure the marker is dry on one page before turning to another page.
About the artist/author: Sophie LaBelle is the creator of the webcomic Assigned Male. If you would like to support her, check out her Patreon account and buy this colouring book. It’s fun and…genderific!