Author and editor Kelly Jensen is building a career based on helping young adults feel more comfortable talking about complicated issues relevant to their lives, subjects that have been difficult for parents to discuss with their children for generations – first tackling feminism in ‘Here We Are’, and then mental health in ‘(Don’t) Call Me Crazy’. She is now bringing bodies into the conversation with ‘BODY TALK- 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy’ a collection of thirty-seven writers, models, actors, musicians, and artists who have contributed essays, lists, comics and illustrations about how their particular, unique bodies have helped to inform who they are.
The collection is the first of its kind to delve so deeply into the world of bodies, covering topics like body and fat positivity, physical disabilities, eating disorders, sexuality and gender identity, and much more. Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman’s essay is about an opportunity to pose nude that helped her to start loving her body; electronic musician and drummer Madame Gandhi’s story is about running the London Marathon with her period; and bestselling YA author Rachael Lippincott’s essay is about the scoliosis and spine surgeries that plagued her throughout her teen years.
LGBTQ activist Gavin Grimm contributes a piece about how readers can help the trans people in their lives both socially and emotionally; model Tyra Banks offers helpful tips to improve body image; and NBC reporter Benjamin Pu writes about finding humor in his testicular cancer diagnosis. There are also additional fiction and non-fiction reading lists for those looking to dive deeper into various issues completes the collection.
Formerly a young adult librarian and now an editor at Book Riot, Jensen once again uses her talent for collecting smart, approachable pieces from popular voices into this collection, and showcases why it’s important that different perspectives be heard.
“We may live in a culture that suggests one type of body is the ideal model of what a person should look like and how they should function at a given time and in a given place,” Jensen writes in her introduction.
“But every human body tells its own story, and it’s a story we each write for ourselves.”
‘Body Talk’ will appeal to teens, parents and older readers alike with a bright, engaging scrapbook layout that weaves together essays, drawings, and “Body Talk FAQs”- sections that offer factual and accessible answers to questions that readers may have about everything from the science behind tattoos to the best terms to use for disabled people. This poignant collection empowers teen readers to love their so-called imperfections and to value themselves and their bodies.
We all experience the world in a body, but we don’t usually take the time to explore what it really means to have and live within one. Just as every person has a unique personality, every person has a unique body, and every body tells its own story.
‘Body Talk’ is a timely book of encouragement to all of us that we should not feel ashamed of who we are, and hacks away at a sizeable piece of the fashion/beauty/advertising machine that has dictated body image conversations and trends for decades.
Available August 18, 2020, you can pre-order you copy here.