I Can Be... Me!

I Can Be... Me!
Co-Authors / Illustrators
  • Maya Christina Gonzalez
Publisher Name
Lee & Low Books
Age Range
Release Date
March 21, 2023
A joyful picture book centering nonbinary young people and celebrating children's freedom to express themselves through play from beloved creators Lesléa Newman and Maya Gonzalez.
I can be everything I want to be,
I can be all of magnificent me!
In this lighthearted story, a group of six, colorfully clad children exuberantly explore -- through play -- the many ways they can be themselves. They are free to embrace all kinds of activities, reveling in the fun of trying new things and discovering new ways of being. They can shoot baskets, dance around a room, weave ribbons through their hair, swim like a mermaid, and more. There is no right way or wrong way. There are no binary expectations. Children explore their individuality through whatever kinds of play appeal to them.

With lively, gender-neutral rhyming verses and fun, gender-bending images, author Lesléa Newman and illustrator Maya Gonzalez invite young readers into a space where creativity and acceptance are enjoyed by all, and where each child will be inspired to say, "I can be... me!"

Editor review

1 review
A Charming, Rhyming Exploration of Being You
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
I CAN BE…ME is a charming encouragement to children to be who they want to be. The book encourages children to explore what they enjoy without fear of not being accepted. Six children explore the many ways they can be themselves with their play and imagination.

The author’s use of rhyme during her storytelling allows for a delightful read along experience. The author goes through a variety of ways that the characters can be themselves even including how they express their emotions when feeling sad or mad.

Colorful and creative artwork allows the book to flourish. The illustrations are vivid and brimming with creativity. The additional details in the drawings add to the charm. The artwork resembles more polished versions of artwork that children themselves would create. The six children find themselves engaging in a wide array of activities, showcasing without words the acceptance that this book promotes.

Leslea Newman’s delightful rhymes combined with Maya Christina Gonzalez’s colorful illustrations make I CAN BE…ME a charming book about children being themselves.
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