For those of you that don't know, I (Sara) run what's known as a "bookstagram". It's an instagram page dedicated to books, with my handle being @agradstudentreadingforfun. So as you might suspect, I am very passionate about books, and about the representation that books can provide. I decided to write a blog post for this week with as many good recommendations of books that have body positivity as I could! These range from children's books to young adult and adult books, with book fiction and non-fiction recommendations for the latter.
I hope you find a good new book to read to your kids or read for yourself in this list!! Please let me know if you think there are any books that I forgot that are super important to be included!!
Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin
Tameika is a young girl dreaming of the stage, and can’t wait to try out for her school’s show: Snow White. She’s dying for the part, but she is hearing whispers that she’s too fat, too brown. This story is all about going for your dreams and not listening to those who want to put you down!
Her Body Can by Ady Meschke and Katie Crenshaw
Written by local ATL bloggers, this kids book is filled with representations of bodies of all sizes running, dancing, doing yoga etc. AKA this book is a beautiful book just about life and being a kid, with the added bonus of actual bodies!!
Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders and Carol Rossetti
Marketed for kids 5 and up, this book explores every facet of body positivity, from disability and fat/thin to ethnicity and gender variations!! A great primer for the little ones.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo
This beauty has every kind of body and every kind of beauty that exists in difference, as well as existing in being kind and recognizing our similarities. It’s all about respecting our bodies and the people around us, and appreciating all that we can do.
I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Written by Jazz Jennings, a trans teenager who has been advocating for the trans population and especially trans children her entire life, teamed up with Herthel to write a children’s book about what it feels like to be trans as a child. This book talks through Jazz’s understanding that she was always a girl and happened to be in a “boy’s” body with care and easy language, so that children can begin to understand this aspect of gender identity. We love a good body positive trans representation, and this is it for children!!
YA and Adult Fiction:
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
While it may seem typical to explore a girl in her teens struggling to accept her weight, this awesome book by Mackler speaks to something that body positivity can get wrong: changing your body. The journey that Ginny goes on in this book supports her moving in ways (kickboxing!!) that makes her feel good, and being comfortable with her body changing because it’s for her, and no one else. A cool way to explore a controversial topic.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
A personal huge favorite, Sisterhood is a timeless awesome story of four friends whose bodies are completely different, but the jeans magically fit them all! The best part is that Carmen in particular, the badass latinx gal whose curves look beautiful in the same jeans that accentuate Lena’s small hips, loves her body, and has no shame in it. A great story about friendship that is inherently filled with body positivity!
There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
This wonderful YA novel intersects a gal growing up fat with traditional Indian culture, through the lens of a young couple dating. Sweetie is an accomplished track athlete and very much her own person, and is tired of her Hinid parents believing she is lacking because she is fat. This is a love story, but is also a story of self-exploration, self-love, and being loud and proud!!
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
A Korean-American, bisexual and fat teenager desires to make a name for herself in the world of K-POP (Korean pop music)! Another incredible story with intersecting various identities, Lyla Lee wrote a story about dancing in a big body, particular Asian American stereotypes, and conquering the world even when everyone tells you that you can’t.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
A main character with a chronic illness? Sign me up! This realistic and lovely little romance explores Chloe Brown’s dating life with a piece of the body positive world that is often ignored: invisible and chronic illnesses. With believable relationship issues and working through trauma, this romance has a lot of hype for good reason!! The second book in this world just came out as well!
YA and Adult Non-Fiction
Celebrate Your Body (And Its Changes Too!) by Sonya Renee Taylor
This one is written specifically for girls going through puberty, but is medically accurate (buh-bye BMI) and features all kinds of bodies!! We need more books like this that allow for people to learn the ways their bodies will change without judgement.
Hunger by Roxane Gay
From the author of “Bad Feminist”, queer and body positive advocate Roxane Gay has written an unbelievable memoir about food, hunger, bodies, and self-love. She explores the differences between how the media told her to take care of herself, and how she found ways to take care of herself eventually in adulthood that worked for her, and were not loaded with fat shaming and an unhealthy relationship with food. This memoir is heavy and powerful, and should be a must read for all body positive advocates, especially those looking to make sure the Black stories are included in the movement.
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love by Jonathan Van Ness
Queer Eye extraordinaire JVN has written a beautiful memoir, which encapsulates living with a body positive mindset, as well as how difficult it can be to get there. Speaking about being HIV+ in particular makes this story a necessary addition to your body positive library! Also, JVN is the kindest and funniest soul, so laugh and cry and cheer along with him!!
Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker
Jes Baker is a well known blogger and activist, and authored most of the essays in this collection to emphasize that fat women are beautiful and appealing just as they are. It also includes essays by men, which is great for representation!!
Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Girl by Leah Vernon
This incredible book chronicles Leah’s life, growing up as a poor Black Muslim woman, and learning to love her body. Instead of being beat down by the variety of expectations this upbringing placed on her, Vernon wields her body with symbolic activism and love. A necessary read.
Happy Fat: Taking up Space in a World That Wants to Shrink You by Sofie Hagan
I actually had the immense pleasure of meeting Sofie when I was abroad in Copenhagen, and can speak first hand to her powerful speaking abilities and effusive love and radiance. Billed as half memoir and half guidebook, Happy Fat is a funny and loving ode to taking up space and being happy whilst doing it.
Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear. Get on the Mat. Love Your Body by Jessamyn Stanley
A perfect book for Clarity members, Jessamyn Stanley, a fat queer yoga instructor, has written what I consider to be the holy grail of body positive movement books. Every Body Yoga (and Stanley’s Underbelly Yoga website and instagram page) brings to light the ways that all bodies deserve to move with happiness and intention. Jessamyn is the personification of being in love with your body, and I highly recommend you check out both this book and her social media!