Jonathan Van Ness is returning to children’s literature with Gorgeously Me!, a brand new picture book slated for 2024. While LGBTQ+ rights in the US— particularly those of LGBTQ+ minors—are under renewed assault, Van Ness’s upcoming book is “a celebration of all the things that make you extraordinary, unique, and gorgeously YOU.”
On Wednesday, Van Ness made the announcement in a joyful Instagram video. “This book is so special to me,” they said. “And I think it’s just very timely because we live in a time where young people need to know that they have a place in this world, and they can be celebrated, accepted and really cherished for their differences.”
“And there’s like literally nothing controversial in this one,” they added, referencing the right-wing crackdown on any (even marginally) LGBTQ+ content in books.
A short poem released alongside the synopsis gives a sense of the book’s message: “I won’t be afraid to stand out / or show the world what I’m all about / I am exactly who I’m meant to be / Perfectly, happily, gorgeously me!”
“Being true to yourself and showing the world who you are isn’t always easy,” the synopsis goes on. “Gorgeously Me assures young readers that they are loved and cherished, exactly as they are. A joyous, lyrical ode of pride and self-love and a celebration of all of the things that make us exceptional.”
Van Ness met Shepard’s ignorance with honesty, patience, and exhaustion.
Whenever they’re not busy schooling fragile men on trans misogyny, the Queer Eye star has been an avid author for a while now. Van Ness has published two nonfiction books—their 2019 memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, and their 2022 essay collection, Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life. Their first children’s picture book, 2020’s Peanut Goes for the Gold, tells the story of a nonbinary guinea pig who becomes a gymnastic star.
With Gorgeously Me!, Van Ness (along with illustrator Kamala Nair) is once again bringing a much needed message of acceptance to kids’ lit. “I wrote this book because I want every child to know that joy is possible at every turn,” they told Variety. “If every person could believe this at the youngest age, imagine the world we could create.”
Published by Penguin Random House, under the children’s lit imprint Flamingo, Gorgeously Me! hits bookshelves on April 30, 2024.