Jensen, Kelly (Ed.). Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy. Algonquin Young Readers, 2020. 256p. ISBN:978-1616209674. $16.95 AT *****
Kelly Jensen (host of the “Hey YA” podcast and editor of two previous YA anthologies on feminism and mental health) is out with a new anthology that dives into all things bodies. I’m typically wary of body-oriented books that tend to only promote the “love your body” ethos and center cis, able, white bodies. This book goes way beyond merely focusing on body size to offering a window into a diversity of bodies through the lived experience of its 37 contributors, including several popular young adult novelists, athletes, and activists. From living with a degenerative neurological condition to gender dysphoria to excessive facial hair, the collection addresses the realities of living in different kinds of bodies. Interspersed with the essays are short FAQ-like pages that provide accurate, and helpful information, breaking down terms like body positivity and disability terminology.
This book is a must-purchase for public and school libraries alike. Content is appropriate for most middle school students and older teens will get a more nuanced understanding from the collection. It’s an outstanding springboard for discussion and to promote greater appreciation and empathy for all bodies. Adults and teens alike can learn so much from this collection, as well as get inspired to dive into more work from its many talented contributors.
–Megan Keane, San Mateo County Libraries