‘Calvin’ Teaches Children To Embrace Transgender Identity

‘Calvin’ is a children’s book that talks about transgender identity. Follow the story of how the authors JR Ford and Vanessa Ford learned from creating this book.

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In the children’s book Calvin, Authors JR Ford and Vanessa Ford show the complex feelings of a transgender kid and how he comes to express who he is. The illustrations were made by Kayla Harren.


What created this wonderful, enlightening book is the Fords two children, one being Ellie who brings up their identity after their 5th birthday. According to NPR, the story is not only inspired by Ellie’s story but also by many networks of families who have shared their experiences with their 4 and 5-year-old children who have come to realize their true identity. The Fords used these personal stories to help create Calvin.

Will Parents Be Ready to Talk about Transgender Identity?


Transgender identity isn’t very much talked about. It’s very dangerous to be open about transgender identity. However, slowly, there is more acceptance and love for the transgender community. One way we can create a more open and healthy environment about being transgender is to teach others.

According to Vanessa Ford in the NPR interview

“Your child is going to be open and eager to learn this, and it may help them be a better, empathetic friend to somebody in their class or their community.”

Audie Cornish of NPR

Being understanding human beings and supporting one another is the first step to creating a more accepting world. It’s our job to not be afraid and to talk about it. As a parent you may not even understand it yourself, but do the research and be prepared to have a discussion with your children or others about the transgender community. Even if you are not transgender, or if you know someone who is, it’s great to educate the children of this century and normalize the transgender community because everyone deserves love and acceptance.

How Do We Approach Talking or Discussing Transgender Identity?


Parents get nervous and tend to avoid uneasy topics. Sexual orientation and gender identity are one of the top two least discussed topics. Yes, it can be difficult to have a conversation about something you may not have full knowledge of, and that’s okay. However, avoiding such topics can lead to future ignorance and negative impact for future kids and adults.

According to JR Ford

“Listen to your kids. They know what’s best for them because they’re living their experience every single day.

Audie Cornish of NPR

A child needs to be heard. They may be young, but are more self-aware and attuned with their feelings.

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