Introducing Teddy: a gentle story about gender and friendship
by, Jessica Walton (she/her)
Illustrated by Dougal MacPherson
IIntroducing Teddy introduces the youngest readers to understanding gender identity and transition in an accessible and heart-warming story about being true to yourself and being a good friend.
Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends who do everything together. Whether it’s riding a bike, playing in the tree house, having a tea party, or all of the above, every day holds something fun to do.
One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas is sad, even when they are playing in their favorite ways. Errol can’t figure out why, until Thomas finally tells Errol what the teddy has been afraid to say: “In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly, not Thomas.” Errol doesn’t respond with confusion, anger, or even a speech about tolerance—he offers cheery, unconditional love (“What matters is that you are my friend”), and life goes on much as it did before—except that Tilly now wears what was once Thomas’s bow tie on her head. “Wear whatever makes you happy!” says Errol’s equally unfazed friend Ava. Debut author Walton, who has a transgender parent, posits a world that has moved beyond acceptance to essentially “no biggie.”