Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Free to Be...You and Me” as Want to Read:
Free to Be...You and Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Free to Be...You and Me

4.41  ·  Rating Details ·  637 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
This is the book we all know and love by Marlo Thomas and her friends—brought to new life with brand new illustrations to captivate and inspire a new generation of readers on a journey of the heart. Whether you are opening Free to Be . . . You and Me for the first time or the one hundredth time you will be engaged and transformed by this newly beautifully illustrated compi ...more
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Running Press Kids (first published June 1974)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Free to Be...You and Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Free to Be...You and Me

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 11, 2008 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all kids
Recommended to Maria by: Aunt Viv--the coolest
Quite simply, *the* classic 1970's children's book. Mention this book at a party with your contemporaries and separate the cool kids from the dreck. ;-)
Nov 02, 2016 Nadine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#respect #tolerance #reflective
Beautifully illustrated collection of poems and short stories / essays celebrating individuality
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for Kids @

I was a young child when FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME was first released. My elementary school even used songs from FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME for a spring concert. As I reviewed this book now, as an adult, I was still amazed that I could hum the tunes to the songs written as poems in the book.

FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME is one of those rare gems that have managed to stand the test of time. Updated with vibrant new illustrations, FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME takes c
Sarah Sammis
I'm as old as Free to Be... You and Me by Marlo Thomas (and friends). The book, record and TV special were some of the inescapable things in my childhood (no matter how hard I tried!) and now the book is back and it landed (uninvited) on my doorstep for review.

As Ms. Thomas explains in the beginning of the book she was inspired to create Free to Be... You and Me when her niece complained about all the books having princesses who need to be rescued. My response would have been: you're reading the
Allison D
This book contains multiple short stories that approach a lot of different stereotypes cultures and genders face. One example is of saying it is okay to cry and there were all genders crying. It is all about gender neutrality and approach many different gender roles in society and says that you can be free to be whoever and whatever you want.
This applies to feminism because it is all about gender roles and trying to bring neutrality to them. It shows that there is nothing that should be specific
Oct 13, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Although this is a collection of poems and short stories, I have included it in my "poetry" selections. I loved listening to record and casette tape recordings of the original version of this book as a child. This is actually the 35th anniversary edition, which I rediscovered recently at the library. As I pour over this new version, I can hear all of the songs, stories and poems in my head read by the likes of Alan Alda, Marlo Thomas, Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, and other big names. This book is ...more
Cara Byrne
Aug 19, 2013 Cara Byrne rated it really liked it
Updated with fresh illustrations and more recent pictures, this book keeps many of the most famous songs and stories from the original _Free to Be... You and Me_ with a new introduction by Thomas and an end statement by Gloria Steinem. Thomas states that she wrote the book for her niece because she did not find dynamic or empowering books on her shelf. She states: "But what I was most shocked to see was that all of the books talked about what girls and boys should be, instead of what they could ...more
Vivian Valvano
May 26, 2012 Vivian Valvano rated it it was amazing
I have loved FREE TO BE ... YOU AND ME since its original publication in 1972. Heather has loved it since Grandma and I introduced her to it when she was a little girl. I bought the 35th anniversary edition last Christmas for my niece's daughter, and I just bought one for Heather (and me). I spent some wonderful time last night reading, remembering, and getting to know the changes made for the anniversary edition - new illustrations by gifted artists using contemporary artistic tools, more wise ...more
I had never read this book before today. I always passed it over because of the outdated illustrations (yes, it was first published a mere four years before I was born. Let's move on.) The contents are wonderful, but you'd expect that from contributors like Judy Blume and Shel Silverstein and Judith Viorst. What made me fall in love were the illustrations - oh, the illustrations! The artists of the new illustrations include Henry Cole (And Tango Makes Three), Peter H. Reynolds (Judy Moody series ...more
Dec 03, 2008 Dottie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1967-1997, own
This one came across my radar when my girls were small and became a favorite with them and also wtih me. Clever and thought provoking and grounded in good common sense approaches to growing good character. Of course the edition we had was the original one in the 1970's or 1980's? but this is the same cover. We also had the recording -- you know, those big 33 1/3 RPM vinyl things in a nice cardboard sleeve that looked just like the book cover here. I can still sing along in my head at times -- th ...more
Maggie Mullis
Aug 13, 2016 Maggie Mullis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text-set
Free to Be You and Me is a collection of short stories that deal with accepting yourself and others.

It has a variety of different types of literature. For example, poems, short stories, and even songs. It is very interactive, and has a lot of interesting topics. One that caught my eye was of a boy and girl corresponding by e-mail discussing whether the girl would be allowed to play on the baseball team. I found it kind of horrifying that this book was written in the 70's yet is still extremely
Katherine Coble
This book was given to me by a friend of the family. It will always stand in my mind as one of the weirdest story collections I've ever read. Some of the stories were poignant, some disturbing, some comforting. A couple tried too hard to bang you over the head with their Differentness. But if a book is a time capsule, this is the best possible window into the late 60s and early 70s, into the hard work of busting gender stereotypes and using fiction to nurture a new generation with a stronger min ...more
Kevin Saunders
Apr 14, 2014 Kevin Saunders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great! It emphasizes cultural diversity, encouraging children to simply be themselves and not worry about different skin color or languages. It reaches out to all different learning types as it has collections of stories, songs, and poems to be chosen from. I feel that this could be used during a lesson on culture to show students that they shouldn't be ashamed of who they are. I haven't had a chance to use this book as of yet, but it's definitely on my "to do" list.
Taylor Kundel-Gower
Oct 04, 2016 Taylor Kundel-Gower rated it really liked it
Originally, this book (and other associated materials) was way before my time, but it has survived and become a classic. I was very excited to read it and I am mostly impressed with it. It contains a lot of good anti-patriarchal messages (female empowerment, males having dolls and feelings) that are still very relevant and I LOVE the folksy songs. However, it is a little dated and sure seems to love the gender binary.
Jun 07, 2012 Celticoracle rated it really liked it
I almost played this cassette out when I was a kid - and when I discovered the book in my school library, I was ecstatic. It was so much fun to see pictures to go with the songs in my head.

The new version brings back all sorts of great memories, and inspired me to buy the full CD (sadly, the one with the book is only a few tracks). I'm looking forward to sharing this with my daughter when she gets older.
Apr 24, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I loved how they read Atalanta aloud and they had matching voice when they broke the ribbon that marked the races end... I loved the song "You might be pretty" - still do. I remember taking the record to school I think in about 3rd grade and we got to listen to it at indoor recess during lunch.
Kim Valentine
This was an interesting book. It has songs, poems, and stories from many authors. You can watch video clips on Youtube that contains many of the stories and songs in this book at:

The goals of the book was to let children know they can be whatever they want to be and not conform to what culture may say a boy or girl has to be.
Feb 19, 2014 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was in elementary school, back when it was a big deal to notice our differences. I've loved the book ever since and was thrilled to discover a copy languishing in a thrift store. I cherish it and have shared it with both my kids. The lessons might seem dated but they are still TIMELESS.
Nov 22, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-baby
A breath of fresh air. I will definitely be reading this book out loud to my son. A beautiful message of being who ou are and being loved and accepted no matter what your difference is. I can see why it has been such a withstanding collection. The songs are cute, the stories have meaning and the poems are just fun. The illustrations are wonderful. Bravo!
Jun 21, 2007 HeavyReader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any person who wants the freedom to be her/him/hirself
I didn't read this book until I was an adult. My parents were not hippies or all that progressive. But I sure dig this book now. Wow! People doing the things they want to do regardless of gender roles. So cool.
Suzi Katz
Dec 27, 2009 Suzi Katz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents with little kids
Free to Be You and Me brings back so many memories from my childhood. It was exciting to share this book with my daughter who loved it. The songs were also available on iTunes so I could buy them as well.
Mary Anjali
This is a simple poetry, song book about love, family, gender, creativity and the joy of freedom. It is a very cutsie book for probably lower elementary, I don't think I would use it in my classroom at the 4/5 level.
Rebecca Radnor
Jul 07, 2011 Rebecca Radnor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-studies
Will never forgive my mom for giving this away when I was away at college, Saw the show as a kid and LOVED it, got the book and the record and memorized all the songs. "you're bald, you're bald bald bald, you're bald as ping pong ball, you're bald!"
Rhana Williams
Jul 22, 2015 Rhana Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My son was five or six when this came out and he loved it. I think we already had the LP when I bought the book. Both were well-worn when they were passed on to younger relatives. The book contains a lot of positive messages about individuality and tolerance and believing in yourself.
Whole And
A classic in helping children learn about and appreciate what makes us different and what is common with all of us. Fun songs, poems and stories to assist children in navigating all the emotional events in their lives.

Mar 14, 2016 Jasmine rated it did not like it
Not a fan. I was excited to see some famous names contribute to this book and thought I would give it a fair shake. Some of the pieces were cute, but honestly, it wasn't worth it for me. Let's just say I can see why SJWs would like this...
Shira Karp
Jul 17, 2009 Shira Karp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The video of this is even better than the book.

Mommies are people
Daddies are people
People with children
PEOPLE with children
living with children and things that they do
there are a lot of things
a lot of Mommies
and a lot of Daddies
can do.

Valuable life lessons.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Oh, how I LOVED this book as a child. I had the record too, and somewhere, deep down in my memory, I know that I still keep the words in my heart and could joyfully sing along once again. This is the 35th Anniversary Edition, with some new contributors like Drew Barrymore adn Peter Sis.

Maggi Rohde
Mar 30, 2009 Maggi Rohde rated it really liked it
It's so much fun to revisit this feminist children's classic! The new illustrations are great, and the stories only feel a little dated. I only refrain from giving it five stars because the CD that came with it only has three songs on it. Ivy loves it too. =)
Raina Lie
Jan 10, 2013 Raina Lie rated it liked it
Shelves: collection
This book is... depending on who reads them. It might turn out to be a very good book teaching us to be brave enough to be ourself. Unfortunately I bought the book at used-condition and no CD included :( So I can't listen to the songs.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • William's Doll
  • Be Who You Are
  • Goblinheart
  • 10,000 Dresses
  • The Different Dragon
  • Rosie and Michael
  • A is for Activist
  • When I Feel Angry (The Way I Feel Books)
  • The Sissy Duckling
  • My Princess Boy
  • Los Mejores Colores/Best Colors (Anti-Bias Books for Kids)
  • The Family Book
  • King & King & Family
  • Daddy, Papa, and Me
  • It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families (The Family Library)
  • Tatterhood and Other Tales
  • Little Mommy (Little Golden Book)
  • The Little Bear Treasury: Little Bear/ Little Bear's Friend/ Little Bear's Visit

Share This Book