New Release: I Can Be . . . Me!

Today, we are delighted to celebrate the release of I Can Be . . . Me! by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Maya Gonzalez.

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 Christina 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 everything I want to be,
I can be all of magnificent me!

Download our comprehensive Educator’s Guide to accompany your reading, then watch Lesléa and Maya in conversation with Booklist Books for Youth Editor Sarah Hunter from our Spring-Summer 2023 Seasonal Showcase!

Order your copy today:
Barnes & Noble

. . . or from your favorite LGBTQIA+-owned bookstore!

Lesléa Newman is the author of eighty books for readers of all ages. She has received numerous awards for her work, including two Stonewall Book Award Honors, two National Jewish Book Awards, the Massachusetts Book Award, and a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. From 2008–2010, she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Visit her online at

Maya Gonzalez is an award-winning children’s book artist, author, activist and progressive educator. Maya’s work addresses systemic inequity in relation to race/ethnicity, sexism, and cissexism using children’s books as radical agents of change and healing, both personally and culturally. Maya co-founded Reflection Press, a POC, queer and trans owned independent publishing house that uses holistic, nature-based, and anti-oppression frameworks in their books and materials for kids and grown-ups. Maya is also the creator of the Gender Wheel, a tool to express the dynamic, infinite and inclusive reality of gender, and provides lectures and workshops to educators, parents and caregivers. Visit Maya online at