Emmy Award-winning illustrator and designer Loryn Brantz says she always wanted to write a book that would "have a truly positive influence on the world." Her "a-ha!" moment came when she was shopping for a friend's baby shower gift, and she was struggling to find a book with a strong, positive, feminist message. "I thought, 'Where are the feminist baby books?'" Brantz tells Parents.com. "It felt like a pile of bricks fell on me, and the idea hit. I literally ran home to write it. I wanted to write a book that I would want to give to my friends' babies and to my own possible future babies."
Brantz's first effort, Feminist Baby, was published last year, and this month, she released Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice! "While the first book was more of an opportunity for parents to introduce the word 'feminist' to their babies, this second book is a lot more direct about what being a feminist actually means," Brantz explains. "Feminist Baby herself is also a little older and wiser. She's learning to talk and quite literally starts to use her voice. She also introduces her friends who will be starring in future adventure!"
Here are just a couple excerpts from the newest book.
Parents and kids alike have taken to the vivacious, empowered character. "Someone once told me their baby calls it 'Dancing Baby,' and he always dances when he reads it, which I thought was very lovely," Brantz shares. "Can you imagine growing up thinking of feminism as so positive it literally makes you dance? What a beautiful thing!"
And Brantz herself can't get enough. She says that when she was done with the first book, she missed drawing her, so she did some comics starring the baby girl.
But as beloved as she may be by her many fans and creator, parents have certainly had questions for Brantz. She says she is often asked why she chose to use "she" pronouns instead of writing the books in a gender-neutral way. "It's a great question," Brantz notes. "I think, in terms of these books, Feminist Baby sort of appeared to me as this fully formed character and in my mind, those were the pronouns that she had chosen. But it is definitely something I'm going to keep in mind for future books, and something we need to think about more in publishing in general. I'm happy to have been made to look longer at that choice."
Reading her books to L.O.s is only one way Brantz hopes parents can begin to teach kids about gender equality early on. "Start by reading them more feminist books," she says. "Also, give them the autonomy to say 'no' to hugs they don't want has a big impact later on. Let boys cry, and tell them it's ok, and their feelings are valid. Basically, I think just teaching them love and compassion for their fellow humans is a great foundation and will lead to them to caring about equality for all."