Book Review: Jonathan Van Ness and Karamo Brown Children's books.


As I mentioned in Monday's book review of 'Antoni in the Kitchen', Queer Eye has become my absolute favourite show, so much so that I am now re-watching episodes because I don't quite know what to do with myself without the Fab 5 on my screen. So, you know that when I learnt that four out of the Fab 5 had books out (Bobby doesn't have one, but if he does ever write one I will be on it. I adore Bobby,) I most definitely had to get them all. 

'Peanut Goes For The Gold' by Jonathan Van Ness. Illustrations by Gillian Reid.


A charming, funny, and heartfelt picture book that follows the adventures of Peanut, a gender nonbinary guinea pig who does everything with their own personal flare. Inspired by Jonathan's own childhood pet, Peanut Goes for the Gold encourages children to not just be themselves—but to boldly and unapologetically love being themselves.

My Review

I truly don't know where to even start with Jonathan Van Ness. She is fierce. She is beautiful and I cannot watch 'Queer Eye' without smiling like the Cheshire cat every time they come on the screen. Kelly and I have been purchasing tons of children's books lately. One, because we love children's books and two, because we're loving sharing them with the children at school. We've really opened our eyes to the books we are reading and are learning every day on how to be better at creating a beautiful and inclusive bookshelf. When I saw 'Peanut Goes For The Gold,' I squealed. Upon reading it, it's so pretty, so cute and such a wonderful story. And just like with Jonathan, you can't not smile when looking at it. 

Peanut is the most determined little Guinea Pig and they are not about to let anyone stop them from achieving their dream of becoming a rhythmic gymnast. I remember the feeling of being told I can't be a professional wrestler or having people laugh when I shared what it was I wanted to be when I was older, so this gorgeous book has the loveliest message for kids (and grown ups a like). If you were to ask my kids at work what Miss Knott tells them at least once every single day, they will no doubt say "you can be anything you want to be" and "be kind". I don't feel they can ever hear it enough, so I fell in love with this colourful, bold and sweet book. As for the illustrations, they are bright, adorable, cute and magically pop off the page. 

Furthermore, I think it's a lovely way of promoting conversations and introducing the term non-binary to little ones and even to yourself. I had heard the term before but had to do some more research on what it meant so I could truly understand it. I loved reading Peanut's story as to see how the correct pronouns were used for Peanut gave me a great example and aided in my understanding, as does watching Jonathan on the show. If you want to learn more, you can read this article: Non-binary Inclusion and of course, do your own research. 

'Peanut Goes For Gold' is a positive and uplifting story about believing in yourself and following your dreams. I highly recommend adding it to your bookshelf. 

'I am Perfectly Designed.' By Karamo Brown with Jason 'Rachel' Brown and Anoosha Syed. 


Written by Karamo and his son Jason, this touching, funny story follows a boy and his father, as they spend the day together. Walking through the city, they chat about all the ways in which they are perfectly designed for each other.

From playing in the park and eating ice-creams, to gazing at the moon, father and son think about all the fun things they've done together... and all the fun to come!

Perfect for sharing together, this is a book for families of all kinds, everywhere.

My Review

I. Love. Karamo and I love this book!!!! The title of this book, 'I am Perfectly Designed' is everything and I immediately knew that it would be a book I would want to share with the children at school and my own kids one day. The message is simply beautiful. The book is written in a gorgeous conversation format between father and son and again you cannot read it without smiling. I adore that it highlights a father and son talking. I love that it looks at the little boy recalling memories and thinking about the future and asking questions. It promotes speaking up about your emotions and asking for help. It looks at reminding our kids that they are perfectly designed to achieve, to adventure, to create and to simply be in this world and I don't think there is a more important message to impart on them. 

Furthermore, as it's written by Karamo and his son Jason, you can truly feel the love on the pages. You can hear Karamo's powerful voice of love and imagine a little boy happily chatting away and innocently asking questions and it really is lovely. Also, the illustrations by Anoosha are absolutely delightful. Culture, diversity and inclusivity burst from the pages and make for the prettiest pictures.

'I am Perfectly Designed' is another must have for your bookshelf. 

What children's books have you been loving lately?

Happy reading.


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