Through color-coding in stores, kids “learn” which toys are “supposed” to be for girls or boy. Pink and yellow toys are considered “girly” and anything blue or dark green is obviously for boys, right? What about the toys themselves? Can boys play with dolls and girls play with trucks?
Of course, they can. And that’s the open-minded thinking that is captured in the new kids’ book, Jamie is Jamie.
Author Afsaneh Moradian wrote Jamie is Jamie for her daughter who’d been told that only boys can play a superhero. “My daughter and every other child deserve a book that gives them permission to be free to play and explore their own way-not the way everyone, ‘thinks they should,'” Afsaneh shared. “I created my book to challenge gender stereotypes and encourages children to make play choices based on their interests. And because playing is fundamental to learning, I’ve created a special section in Jamie is Jamie for teachers, parents, and caregivers where they can find tips on how to make kids’ playtime learning time.”
About Jamie is Jamie
When free-spirited Jamie arrives at a new preschool, all the kids learn that it’s okay to play whatever you want. The other children love how Jamie plays, but is Jamie a boy? Or a girl? Within these pages, readers see Jamie’s willingness to rock a baby, fix a toy car, dance ballet and even fight off villains has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the joy of PLAY.
An Author and Mom with a Vision of Equality
Afsaneh Moradian has loved writing stories, poetry, and plays since childhood. After receiving her master’s in education, she took her love of writing into the classroom where she began teaching children how to channel their creativity. Her passion for teaching has lasted for over fifteen years. Afsaneh now guides students and teachers (and her young daughter) in the art of writing.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and one unique quality you think you have.
Afsaneh: I grew up in a multicultural family and at school, I was made to feel that I was an “other”. I think this made me aware of how important it is for kids to feel loved and supported both in and out of the home. I definitely carried this belief into my career as an English teacher.
Q: I see that you are a creative writing instructor. If you could give advice to anyone (especially youngsters) who dream of writing a book, what advice would you give?
Afsaneh: You are the only one who has your life and your ideas, and you are the only one who can tell your story. Your story is worth telling and worthy of being read. You don’t have to have an original idea or a brilliant idea, you just have to have something to say and the confidence to put your ideas into words.
Q: Who is your mentor or biggest influencer when it comes to your writing?
Afsaneh: I learned how to write poetry from reading Margaret Atwood and Nikki Giovanni poems as a freshman in high school. I had some amazing creative writing teachers in high school and college, but I have to give my mother a lot of credit for reading EVERYTHING I have ever written, and for always cheering me on even when the poem or story needs a lot of work.
Q: If you were to let parents, teachers and librarians know ONE THING about Jamie is Jamie?..what would that one thing be?
Afsaneh: This book is a wonderful way to teach children to be inclusive of those who are different from them and to show children who may stand out from others that they deserve to be respected and accepted for who they are.
Q: We love that Jamie is Jamie is about creating a conversation on gender stereotypes. Was there a specific reason you chose this topic? :
Afsaneh: My young daughter wasn’t able to see herself in any of the picture books we were reading to her. It became clear to me that there needed to be a book where kids could be free to be themselves and be appreciated for it, without the limitations of gender stereotypes. I’m also concerned about the push towards making early childhood more academic and wanted to provide adults with a reminder of how important free play is for young children to develop their imagination, cognition, and social skills.
Q: What are you most grateful for?
Afsaneh: I am grateful for my loving, supportive husband and for all of the amazing people in my life who are doing so much to make this world a better place to live in.
Q: Are you planning on creating more children’s books?
Afsaneh: Absolutely! There are still many stories left to tell and a long way to go until we have enough picture books that represent all children.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Afsaneh: We are living in a moment where there are a lot of divisive and hateful ideas floating around, and I greatly appreciate being part of a community of diverse authors who are doing what we can to create safe spaces for all kids through our books, recognizing different races, ethnicities, genders (including trans and gender neutral), abilities, and religions.
About The Publisher
Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Free Spirit (www.freespirit.com) is the leading publisher of learning tools that support young people’s social-emotional health and their educational needs. Free Spirit’s mission is to help children and teens think for themselves, overcome challenges, and make a difference in the world.
- Age Range: 4 – 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool – 3
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing (May 1, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1631981390
- ISBN-13: 978-1631981395
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 8 inches (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
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