Every body is a swimsuit body: Exploring body positive YA novels

Four years ago, author Julie Murphy released the powerful YA novel, Dumplin’. The heartfelt story of Willow Dean Dixon – a plus-size teen who defiantly enters her overbearing mother’s small Texas beauty pageant – moved readers of all ages and sizes. The book shot to the top of everyone’s reading piles, fueled by it’s glowing word-of-mouth reviews. Dumplin’ asked important questions about the building up and tearing down of self-esteem, body image and the role that parents play in how children see their bodies.

With its addictive mix of humor, grief and romance, Dumplin’ quickly became a New York Times bestseller and went on to become a successful movie on Netflix, released in December of this year. While the story was brilliant, the unfurled banner of body acceptance and positivity, especially for plus-size teen girls, was what made this book – and the movie – truly unforgettable.

Inspired by the message of Dumplin', Anythink Wright Farms recently created Every Body is a Swimsuit Body, a display that will remain up in our teen area through the end of July 2019. This collection of body positive books is on display, picked specifically because they promote body acceptance and loving the body you have right now. Titles include The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertelli, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

Our hope is that these books help our teen readers celebrate who they are, while also acknowledging that it’s sometimes incredibly difficult to do.

So grab your swimsuit, grab a book and head to the pool, because those cool waters are made for every body.