Title: Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
Author(s): Liz Prince
Artist(s): Liz Prince
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Grade Level(s): 7-12
Mature Content?: Language, Sexual Content
In Tomboy, Liz Prince recounts her trials and tribulations growing up as a non-gender conforming girl. From her early childhood, when she refused to wear dresses and girly clothes, to her middle school as she was rejected by both boys and girls for being different, Prince’s experience hinged on what it means to be a girl. Tomboy not only pokes holes in how gender is policed by our peers, but how gender is defined by society without realizing it. As Prince navigates gender norms and pushes against these boundaries, she slowly realizes that not everything is as the media and society make it seem.
Part of the beauty of Prince’s graphic novel is that she wrote it with education in mind; the publication page even includes a link to Zest Books’s Study Guide, an educator resource provided by the publisher specifically about Tomboy. Prince’s book provides many chances to discuss how society defines gender. She also brings up the separation of gender and sexuality. This book pairs perfectly with the Genderbread Person, though it will likely need to be paired with other LGBTQ+ resources and texts for best effect. Surprisingly, while Tomboy is highly praised by educator blogs, few actual lesson plans and resources exist for the book itself.
As LGBTQ+ literature becomes more common, expect to see more lessons; for now, however, the norm is to offer LGTBQ+ texts as part of a text set or for independent reading rather than teaching it directly.