Fat Positive Children’s Books

Fat Positive Children's Books (1)I started this post a while ago, but it seems extra pertinent now that more kids are hanging out at home reading!

Recently Glamour ran an article titled “The First Body-Positive Children’s Book Just Came Out, and It’s Exactly What the World Needs Now” Before we get to our discussion of books, there are some things we need to talk about.

For starters, this is not remotely the “first body-positive” children’s book. Claiming that this book is the first of its kind (and to be clear, I don’t know if that was the author’s decision, the writer’s, or the editor’s) is an act of erasure and it’s a big deal.

There have been books trying to help kids love their bodies for a long time. Very few of them include body size, but if you search for “body-positive children’s books” you’ll find many, many books written to help kids overcome the body shame they experience because of marginalizations including racism, xenophobia, and ableism as well as things like height.

If you are looking for fat-positive children’s books the list becomes quite a bit smaller (and some of the books that were meant to be size positive are pretty terrible – using terms like “overweight” that pathologize kid’s bodies, books that are supposed to be about developing a healthy relationship with food but instead moralize food in ways that we know to perpetuate eating disorders, ) but still, this book is far from the first.

The first that came to mind for me was Sonya Renee Taylor’s Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls

And Amy Pence-Brown wrote a great article about this that you can find here.

Three Birds Counseling also has a fabulous list

Kids books are a bit outside of my wheelhouse so I crowdsourced answers and you can find that thread on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/ragenchastain/posts/10219779923439843

I definitely recommend that you vet any of these books before giving them to kids in your life. I also want to acknowledge that not all books do a good job of being inclusive of kids of color, queer and trans kids, disabled kids, neuroatypical kids and other intersectional marginalizations.

If you have a favorite fat positive children’s book, please leave it in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Fat Positive Children’s Books

    1. This is something that they are actively working on – using more diverse models, less body shaming content, and hiring more diverse (including fat) writers – I’ve written two articles for them, on of medical fatphobia, and one on the fatphobia that we experience when eating in public (which was part of a larger group of perspective pieces from fat authors.) They have a long way to go (and a long legacy of harm) but they are trying.
      Here are the links to my articles in case they are helpful:
      https://www.glamour.com/story/weight-stigma-is-keeping-patients-from-getting-the-care-they-need
      https://www.glamour.com/story/eating-while-fat

  1. It wasn’t deliberately made to be body positive, but I can’t begin to describe what The Neverending Story meant to me as a fat kid, even one that had internalized fatphobia to the extent I had. I still loved seeing a fat character- and I’m not talking ambiguously chubby in a way that’s defaultable to thin or morality-play “overweight,” I mean book-Bastian is explicitly fat, and is even shown suffering weight-based microaggressions from both kids and adults (in 1979!)- save the world without either losing weight in the process or being “rewarded” for his good behavior with weight loss. It was the first time I’d ever seen an adult acknowledge the reality I was living in without feeling like they had to Say Something about it or give the hero some kind of weight-loss-defined “happy ending.”

    It’s also a genuinely imaginative fantasy novel about saving the world where all the fictional characters live from a wave of evil that’s trying to snatch them from their stories and turn them into lies and it has some of the coolest monsters ever.

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