This Body-Positive Children's Book Deserves a Spot On Everyone's Reading List
Her Body Can was written for children ages 8 and under—but it's a book that people of all ages can benefit from reading.
The body-positivity movement has spurred change in countless ways over the last several years. TV shows and movies are casting people with a wider range of body types. Brands like Aerie and Olay are banishing Photoshop in their advertisements, allowing everything from cellulite to fine wrinkles to appear in their finished products.
Now, Atlanta-based bloggers Ady Meschke and Katie Crenshaw are bringing the body-positivity movement to arguably the most impressionable audience out there: children. The duo recently published Her Body Can (Buy It, $16, amazon.com), their first book in an upcoming larger series of inclusive children's literature.
The body-positive storybook is geared toward children ages 8 and under, according to Glamour—but the book features lessons that people of all ages can benefit from learning.
Many children's books tell stories about kids overcoming the adversity of bullying, especially bullying related to body image and general physical appearance. And Her Body Can isn't necessarily the first body-positive children's book to hit shelves. But Meschke and Crenshaw wanted to write a book about a child who's comfortable in her own skin, living with zero regrets, and surrounded by friends of all shapes, colors, sizes, hair types, religions, and abilities—something other children's books don't often portray, the authors told Glamour. (Related: 8 Fitness Pros Making the Workout World More Inclusive—and Why That's Really Important)
"The pictures in this book say loud and clear, 'Everyone is equal,'" Meschke, who created the #herbodycan movement on Instagram to highlight what bodies can do versus how they look, said in her interview with Glamour. And that's what the body-positivity movement is all about: creating a cultural awareness of diversity that wasn't present in the past.
Developing a children's book that represents people from diverse backgrounds was especially important to Meschke and Crenshaw, who are both non-straight-sized moms.
"It was really important to us to address specific restrictions that were imposed upon us growing up because of our size, and negate them," Meschke told Glamour. "My whole life I heard, 'Don't wear two-piece bathing suits, don't wear white, don't wear color, don't wear crop tops,' so we made it a point to have our heroine wear every single thing we were told we couldn't wear because of our size. We want to change that narrative for the next generation of children."
Thinking you or your child could benefit from this boundary-breaking storybook? It's currently available on Amazon and will soon be on sale at major retailers across the country.
"I really believe that if I'd had a book as a kid that taught this type of message, maybe it wouldn't have taken me until I was 34 to be that confident. The book is definitely about teaching kids not only to accept and love themselves but accepting and loving others for their differences too," Meschke told Glamour. (Related: Can You Love Your Body and Still Want to Change It?)
And, if you have a son or male friend who could use a little body positivity in his life, keep an eye out for His Body Can. The book, which is expected to be out later this year, will highlight boys' body image and gender roles, Meschke and Crenshaw told Glamour. But that's not all: The duo said they also plan to feature other characters from Her Body Can in their own books so that children everywhere will be able to point at a cover and see themselves.