Izzy likes to stay under the radar; she doesn’t like being centre of attention and wants nothing more than to make it through secondary school without being the focus of gossip or drama. But all that changes when her dad explains his true identity as a trans woman: Danielle. For Izzy, her older sister and her younger brother, it is completely out of the blue and comes as quite a shock.
What is even more of a shock, though, is the constant spotlight which is now focused on their family. For shy Izzy, this is just as hard to cope with as the process of accepting her dad as someone new. She will need to face her fears of being noticed and begin to find her voice in order to combat the bullies that begin to taunt her following the news coming out.
Her younger brother Jamie is very accepting and seems to find the transition of their dad to ‘Dee’ part of his new normal. Megan, Izzy’s older sister, however, is finding it all much more difficult to accept. She becomes confrontational and expects her dad to change his mind. Izzy is confused. She wants to accept, like Jamie, but also has many questions like Megan. In the book, we see her discover more about Danielle’s feelings, but also her own.
A few years ago, transgender was a word most children would not have heard, let alone understand. But with more and more acceptance and widely spread discussion about LGBTQ+ rights, it is so important that children have access to books with themes that allow them to see what it means in a more ‘real’ sense.
Nothing Ever Happens Here is a sensitively told story of Danielle, who announces to her family that she doesn’t want to hide anymore: now she can be her true self. It is important that children can see transgender in a way that develops their empathy: it is not an easy decision for someone to make and is one that can weigh heavily. It is also important to note that whilst recognising the experiences that transgender people go through, this story also explores the impact it might also have on their family and friends within the process of coming out.
We talk about diversity on bookshelves within classrooms, and Sarah has certainly begun to tackle this. With few books that have transgender characters, particularly for children, this is an important one to read and display.
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