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Meet Polkadot

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“Meet Polkadot,” is an accessible introduction to the main character in our series, Polkadot. Polkadot as well as Polkadot’s big sister Gladiola and best friend Norma Alicia, introduce our readers to the challenges and beauty that are experienced by Polkadot as a non-binary, trans kid. While Gladiola learns how to engage with information that she “didn’t know she didn’t know,” Norma Alicia provides Polkadot with a generous, additional perspective on how identities intersect and how allyship works. “Meet Polkadot,” tells Polkadot’s story from a transgender-liberation and feminist perspective and explores the complexity of identity in gentle and real terms. For ages 3-130!


First published December 1, 2013

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About the author

Talcott Broadhead

1 book12 followers
Author, activist, parent, radical Social Worker, artist, Holocaust scholar, trauma specialist.

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5 stars
43 (56%)
4 stars
18 (23%)
3 stars
8 (10%)
2 stars
5 (6%)
1 star
2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Cori Di Biase.
Author 1 book10 followers
December 18, 2013
I am so happy to have been able to share this book with my wife and daughter. We all learned a lot as we read it together. Subjects that are both intricate and sensitive are presented warmly and accessibly, and in the midst of beautiful artwork. I would recommend this to any parent who wants their child to have a better, broader understanding of people.
Profile Image for jess.
848 reviews71 followers
December 31, 2014
This book is awesome & I beg you to read it. Let us dismantle, disrupt and rebuilt together, friends.
February 24, 2018
Who is this book supposed to be for exactly? I mean if it's for children why are they using words like "identity" and "option"... those aren't exactly elementary school level words.

If the book was meant for children they should be using words like "self" and "choice". Further, if a book is meant to teach a child something you can't just come right out and start blurting out hash tags and transsexual talking points, like the idea is to try and be ~subversive~ about it, to try and teach the child by using some kind of relatable experience/comparison.

Like, just make a book where there's a boy getting called a girl (or vice versa) by some random stranger and then have some stuff about how it made them feel all uncomfortable and embarrassed and then ~transition~ into another story segment about how a trans kid is being made fun of and being called a boy even though he's dressed like a girl (or vice versa).

Ya see?

That would be clever because it's A RELATABLE EXPERIENCE that most people can understand whether they're trans, not trans, mayonnaise gender, attack helicopter or whatever special snowflake flavor you like.

This book is just pure cult level rhetoric, there's no substance to it, no story, just heavy handed preach mongering with words so big they'll leave most kids confused and afraid.

If the intent of the book is to try and get children to empathize and understand trans kids... IT FAILS!

If the intent of the book is to try and make trans kids feel better about the confusion and uncertainty they're facing... IT FAILS!

If the intent of the book is to make a grown liberal feel all "hash tag progressive" while they take a selfie with it before jumping on into the Oppression Olympics... congratulations, that the ONLY arena it actually serves any purpose in... at all.
Profile Image for Skyler.
99 reviews23 followers
December 27, 2013
Meet Polkadot, the first installment in the "Polkadot" series, is one reason why I still have faith in humanity. Through the use of bright, kid-friendly illustrations, author and illustrator Talcott Broadhead takes readers on an educational journey about gender, acceptance, and what it means to be an ally. The main character, Polkadot, describes for children the Gender Binary and details how people often do not readily accept children who do not associate with either gender identity (boy or girl). "I am not a boy or a girl. I am real and true but in my culture, there is not a lot of room for me." This delightful little book carries a strong message to children and their parents. "I'm Polkadot. This is my gender identity. All gender identities are awesome."

This book has quickly become one of my favorites. No matter how many times I read it, I fall in love with Polkadot, their sister Gladiola, and best friend Norma Alicia, every time. Just because your gender cannot be labeled and shoved inside a neat little box on the gender binary model, does not mean that you are "wrong" or "bad". If we work to dismantle the Gender Binary (the model that suggests that "male" and "female" are the only two genders) and educate our friends, we can learn to become allies and support each other.

Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,291 reviews50 followers
December 17, 2016
I was excited about this book but on actually reading it was disappointed. I felt like it got sort of bogged down in explaining. Though honestly, wtf even is gender -- I'm a cisgender woman, but I couldn't explain to you what makes female/woman/girl feel "right" to me as my gender identity, so why am I expecting a book to be able to explain it in a really accessible way to children? And I do appreciate the basic message that "gender identity is what YOU know to be true about your own gender."
Profile Image for Amber.
5 reviews
July 23, 2018
Ok, I wanted to love this book so much. And maybe for adults or older kids it's an ok book, but my almost 5 year old child (who is gender nonconforming) found it incredibly boring. We didn't even make it through the book. It is extraordinarily didactic. It doesn't have much of a story, but rather is a lesson on terminology and concepts - which is useful, but not very appealing to the younger crowd. Luckily, there are more great books with engaging stories coming out that feature nonbinary children that we are reading like "From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea."

Profile Image for Ryan.
210 reviews4 followers
December 2, 2013
A very well told story of acceptance and personal identity. The book is also well illustrated. The topics covered in the book require a developed conversation between parent and child, and although the conversation could be challenging it is very very necessary.
2 reviews1 follower
December 17, 2013
I read Polakadot to my 7 year old who loved it, and days later was able to express what gender identity was. Later in the week I read it to my advisory group of 9th graders in school who loved it. It is a book that can teach people of all ages... but in a fun and approachable way. Read it!
Profile Image for Eli.
8 reviews
August 3, 2016
Excellent book about a gender variant child. Would recommend to everyone.
Profile Image for Will.
7 reviews
November 7, 2018
I am reviewing the version with a forward by Dark Matter. This book is written for all ages and although it does use terminology and words that many people (children and adults) may not understand at first, I don't see this as a negative. I think this book treats the reader as an intelligent and open listener and it provides talking points and terms that will likely inspire further reading and learning--which is awesome. This book is written in a way that does not make a mockery of the potential of children. As a mental health provider with specific interest in working with gender variant children, I grow tired of books and other media that assume children know less about gender and identity than adults. This book does just the opposite.

I purchased this book specifically to read with my clients and share with other providers. The book ends with informative advice for wannabe allies of trans folks. Great book that gets all ages thinking and talking about intersectional identities, allyship, gender identity...and I appreciate (again) that this book is child-honoring in how it models how children should receive respect and faith that they know who they are, and that they deserve to be acknowledged for their identity in the moment (not when they are old "enough" to "decide"!). Thank you, Talcott!
Profile Image for Molly.
2,329 reviews
September 23, 2018
This book attempts to explain gender identity, the unique challenges faced by transgender people and being an ally through a young person named Polkadot, who doesn't identify as boy or girl, their sister, Gladiola, and their friend, Norma Alicia.

First, I want to say that I completely appreciate what this book is trying to do: introduce the concepts of gender identity, being transgender and allyship to young children. This is a wonderful and important goal. However, I am sorry to say that I think it misses the mark. The story kind of goes all over the place and I find it overly didactic and academic for a children's book. The child characters speak like they are professors. I don't find them believable as kids. For instance, Polkadot's sister Gladiola says,"It would be an honor for me to use my privilege to benefit you Polkadot! In fact, I believe that dismantling the Gender Binary benefits us all!" I'm sorry, but I don't think that any child would speak that way no matter how smart or sophisticated they are. I feel like this book could have used language more accessible for a young child. So, I guess my overall assessment is great concept, not so great execution.
Profile Image for Heather Garman.
31 reviews7 followers
August 17, 2021
Great at explaining but also wordy

A little wordy for a kids book, but it is a complex concept for kids and this does a great job of explaining trans concepts.
October 12, 2015
This book starts off with a story about a child named Polkadot. The book introduces them as not only a transgender person, but initially as an individual and a part of a loving family. The book is outlined as a conversation between Polkadot and their sister, discussing the concept of gender in our society, in a way that is easy for kids to understand.
This book is an amazing example of how to bring proper terminology into a children's book. This is an informational book that would work well for a read-aloud to an upper-elementary level class. It incorporates real gender-based vocabulary such as "gender binary", "transgender", "cisgender", "gender identity", and "allies". Using a book like this in the classroom is a perfect way to bridge the gap between a story about a transgender character in a book, and the fact that gender is something that exists all around us, not just in story books.
Not only is this book informative on the subject of gender, but it is also inclusive of a variety of cultures, even mentioning how gender is different between cultures, and including characters (named ones, not just a differently-colored background character in the illustrations) from different ethnicities!
All in all, this book is educational, informative, culturally sensitive, and would make a great addition to any educator's collection.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
69 reviews4 followers
November 25, 2014
Meet Polkadot provides a lucid and accessible introduction to gender identity and what it means to identify outside of the gender binary. My five-year-old was raptly attentive through most of the book, and it generated some great discussion!

The last few pages of the book get pretty dense with text, though, and we ended up skipping most of it. Personally, I also found the art a bit off-putting, and it's sometimes a little hard to figure out who is talking on any given page.

But overall, it's a very worthwhile intro to gender theory for kids!
Profile Image for Sara.
434 reviews3 followers
December 18, 2013
I am really happy that a book like this exists, at long last. Accessible enough for children, but informative enough that I learned something from it -- anyone who wants their kid to grow up understanding what gender identity is and means, and not be afraid and confused by it, should read this book. It is sweet and non-condescending, informative and whimsical.
Profile Image for Spazure.
15 reviews1 follower
September 25, 2018
Calling this book “from 3-60” is reaching.

This had wayyyyy too much information and new words for my 4 year old. The artwork is cute and I like the intention, I just think I may need to hold onto this until my son is closer to 6 or 7. Maybe if it tried to do less in a single book, break it out into a series.... but as it is, I’d say it’s a good book for older children.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

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