The size and body acceptance movement has become more evident in books for children and young adults in recent years. These recent and forthcoming titles, published between September 2019 and June 2021, explain and affirm body types and experiences of all stripes.
Forthcoming 2021 Titles
Love Is a Revolution
by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury, Feb. 2, 2021, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-5476-0060-1, ages 13 and up)
Plus-size Nala Robertson falls for activist Tye Brown when she sees him at an open mic night she’s attending with her cousin and, in an effort to connect with him, she tells a few fibs. As those lies become harder to manage and her feelings for Tye intensify, she realizes the importance of self-acceptance and self-love.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
by Crystal Maldonado (Holiday House, Feb. 2, 2021, $18.99, ISBN 978-0-8234-4717-6, ages 14 and up)
Puerto Rican teen Charlie Vega must already contend with familial and societal expectations to be thinner, whiter, and quieter, but things get even more complicated when she finds out the boy with whom she’s started a tentative relationship first asked out her best friend Amelia, making her wonder if she’s the consolation prize.
by Lisa Fipps (Penguin/Paulsen, Mar. 9, 2021, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-984814-50-0, ages 10 and up)
Ellie has followed the Fat Girl Rules—“no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles”—ever since her fifth-grade birthday pool party, when she started being bullied for her weight. Now, the pool is her safe space as she works to overcome the pressure to change her body, with the support of her dad, therapist, and her new neighbor, who all see her for who she truly is.
Every Body Shines: 16 Stories About Living Fabulously Fat
edited by Cassandra Newbould (Bloomsbury, May 11, 2021, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-5476-0607-8, ages 14 and up)
Bringing together 16 authors, including Chris Baron, Kelly deVos, Alex Gino, Claire Kann, and Rebecca Sky, this anthology collects short stories featuring fat main characters across a variety of genres and tropes, from #OwnVoices contemporary to science fiction and fantasy.
Taking Up Space
by Alyson Gerber (Scholastic Press, May 18, 2021, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-338-18600-0, ages 8–12)
In this story about body image and self-esteem, basketball is the only thing that makes Sarah feel like she matters, even when her mother forgets to feed her. But struggles on the court—from being slow to missing shots she used to be able to make—make her feel like she’s losing control.
by Julie Murphy (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, May 25, 2021, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-06-288045-1, ages 13 and up)
Returning to the world of Dumplin’, Murphy introduces readers to Waylon Russell Brewer, a fat, openly gay boy living in West Texas. Waylon decides to run for prom court when he’s jokingly nominated Prom Queen after his audition tape for a TV drag show is shared with his entire school.
Bodies Are Cool
by Tyler Feder (Penguin/Dial, June 1, 2021, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-593-11262-5, ages 3–5)
This picture book focuses on body acceptance through inclusive illustrations, highlighting various skin tones, body shapes, and hair types and by employing accessible, judgment-free language. The exclamatory refrain, “Bodies are cool!,” reinforces the message that all bodies are to be celebrated.
by Yehudi Mercado (HarperCollins/Tegen, June 22, 2021, $21.99, ISBN 978-0-06-297279-8, ages 8–12)
Through his graphic memoir, Mercado explores his childhood growing up in a working class Mexican Jewish family while struggling with his weight and finding friendship with the imaginary mascot, Chunky, who encourages him to pursue his comedy dreams.
Eat Your Heart Out
by Kelly DeVos (Penguin/Razorbill, June 29, 2021, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-593-20482-5, ages 12 and up)
In this satirical YA novel, DeVos strands Vivian Ellenshaw and her best friend at Camp Featherlite, a weight-loss camp with a “miracle cure” for obesity that seems less than legitimate, during the worst blizzard in the history of Flagstaff, Ariz. When a camper goes missing, Vee and her new friends start looking for answers, only to find the camp overrun with zombies.
Recent and Notable Backlist
Here the Whole Time
by Vitor Martins, trans. by Larissa Helena (Scholastic Press, Nov. 10, 2020, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-338-62082-5, ages 14 and up)
Felipe is looking forward to winter break and the distance it will put between him and his classmates who bully him about his weight, but his plans are upended when he learns that his neighbor and longtime crush Caio will be sharing his room for a full two weeks while Caio’s mother is away.
by Francina Simone (Inkyard, Sept. 22, 2020, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-335-14650-2, ages 12 and up)
In this retelling of Othello, Olivia “Liv” James decides to crush her junior year and stop letting her insecurities rule her life, so she makes a “F*ck-It list,” kicking it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date, and making new friends. Liv doesn’t, however, expect to fall for three guys, two of which are her best friends, to be dumped by someone she isn’t even dating, or to be friend zoned along the way. Read our full review.
Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy
edited by Kelly Jensen (Algonquin, Aug. 18, 2020, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-967-4, Ages 14 – 18)
Thirty-seven writers, performers, and other public figures share what it’s like to live in their particular bodies, touching on gender identity, disability, and more. In “Thin,” for instance, cartoonist Yao Xiao illustrates the cultural expectations about body size she confronted growing up, while novelist Rachael Lippincott, in “Scoliosis, Spinal Fusion, and Stomach Punches,” discusses her diagnosis.
I’ll Be the One
by Lyla Lee. (HarperCollins/Tegen, June 16, 2020 $17.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293692-9, Ages 13 and up)
In this novel about body acceptance and first love, Korean American Skye Shin lands a spot on a televised competition seeking the next big K-pop star, where she must contend with the fat-phobic standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry and sudden media fame and scrutiny. See our full review.
The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Beauty Positivity for Girls of Color
by Virgie Tovar. (Instant Help, May 1, 2020, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-68403-411-6, Ages 13 – 19)
“In this important guide written specifically for girls of color,” PW’s starred review said, Tovar, who lectures on fat discrimination and body issues, “skillfully blends calls to action, relatable personal anecdotes, and clear explanations of the forces that guide individuals’ understanding of themselves.” See our full review.
Love Your Body
by Jessica Sanders, illus. by Carol Rossetti (Frances Lincoln, Mar. 3, 2020, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-7112-5242-4, Ages 8 – 12)
“This thoughtfully compiled guide to body positivity and self love,” PW’s review said, “is meant to comfort, guide, and empower.” Rosetti’s illustrations “give context and power to the resonant messages of self-acceptance and individuality, celebrating a multitude of experiences.” See our full review.
The Other F Word
Edited by Angie Manfredi (Abrams, Sept. 24, 2019, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-4197-3750-3, ages 13 and up)
Librarian and blogger Manfredi’s inclusive volume delivers “a revolutionary message about fat acceptance and self-love,” PW’s starred review said, through contributions from “31 intersectional and diverse voices.” See our full review.
This article has been expanded and updated. An earlier version appeared in the November 11, 2020 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline For Every Body.