About The Pronoun Project

In Feburary of 2018 I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be a mentor at Trans Tipping Point, an amazing writing conference outside of Victoria, BC for trans youth to be able to explore and refine their writing as well as make friends and find support from other trans youth and adult mentors. I myself am queer; a non-binary, genderfluid person, and it was fantastic to get to know everyone at the conference. I don’t have many opportunities in my life to be around other queer folx, and it felt good to have that sense of community. As a mentor for the program it was also interesting to chat with the kids and hear about how they too wished they had that sense of queer community all the time. Some talked about how they wanted more representation and validation in the mainstream and that’s why they started writing; to create worlds with people like themselves, so that they or people like them wouldn’t feel so alone. Some spoke about how it can be difficult, even if you are in a supportive situation, with friends and family who are well-intentioned, who try to support and validate you as a queer youth, because often they don’t know how to be supportive, or they don’t realize how much within themselves they need to unlearn, and things can still be isolating, and even hurtful.

For more than 10 years I taught preschool, and in that time I had a few other queer co-workers. I always made sure to have the children call people by their correct pronouns, and I have never seen a child misgender someone, or struggle with the concept of gender or sex. But for many adults, including other teachers, support staff, administrators, etc it could get to be a big deal just making sure to respect someone who’s pronouns were they/them. You’d hear transphobic comments again and again veiled behind proper grammar, proper linguistics, just wanting a child to fit in, etc. However children know to be kind, loving and respectful of others. When a coworker was deliberately misgendering and deadnaming another adult at school once, a child in my class spoke up and said “That’s not how you call them. That’s not their name. That’s not what’s inside them. Everyone is different, and some bodies are like one way and some bodies and like a different way, and its ok and so we talk to people the right way to say I love you.”

Lately, I had several friends come out to me as queer, needing support, feeling afraid to tell their families, feeling nervous about the political climate, feeling uncertain how much support and validation they could expect in general. This percolated in my mind with some of these other past experiences and I had an idea. What if people didn’t have so many toxic ideas to work through and unpack before they could be supportive of their trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, polygender, aliagender, and intersex friends, family, and community members? What if instead of learning a strict gender binary that permeates everything from the way we dress to the way we act to the art we’re allowed to enjoy to the way we speak, we were taught from a young age that gender is none of those things. Gender isn’t our clothes, is isn’t our genitals, it isn’t our haircut, it’ a social construct and whatever gender we or anyone is is valid and deserving of respect?

This is how the Pronoun Project started. It’s purpose is two-fold: first it’s meant to educate people, especially young people. To help them see past our cultural indoctrination into a hard, binary world. To help them have the tools to support and love people who don’t fit into that binary, including maybe themselves. How can people respect pronouns if they aren’t familiar with any? How can people move past unconscious bias toward trans people and regard them as people who are equal, if they have never even seen any representations of those people due to cultural erasure?

The other aspect of the Pronoun Project is trans empowerment and celebration. With the books that include neopronouns, characters loving, respecting, and validating one another, and charts in each book so that others can learn to properly use pronouns, the books are a positive representation of queerness, including QPOC (queer people of color), QBPOC (queer black people of color) and QIPOC (queer indigenous people of color). The Rainbow Collective series is intended to be intersectional, and to honor the diversity of what queerness is.

Other parts of the Pronoun Project include neopronoun fabric, which could be used to make anything from pendants or pillows for a bedroom, Hawaiian shirts to shout out loud and proud who you are (I made a scrunchie, and am currently working on a romper made from one of the fabrics) or even an awesome non-binary gender quilt! Not just for queer folx either, but imagine being a cis person, having a baby shower or even a classroom of preschoolers like I did, and making them a quilt, pillows, or doll clothes from that fabric to help them grow up in a world where they aren’t confined to the binary.

There are also a first set of coloring pages, with possibly more to come and potentially other cool things as well. Paper dolls? Sewing patterns? We’ll see, but this is definitely a project I’m very excited about so keep checking back for all the great things to come out of the Pronoun Project!

Pronoun Project Coloring Pages

This is part of the Pronoun Project: some new material I have coming out. It’s going to include these coloring pages and later, kids books to help people to learn more pronouns, make them more comfortable using neo-pronouns day-to-day (especially from a younger age), and most of all to support my trans siblings out there. These will be available for free or donation here or Patreon.

The kids books aren’t currently done , but I’m hoping to make a lot of progress on those and have some to show at Trans Tipping Point Writing Retreat in May, where I will be an adult mentor and workshop presentor 😀

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Leftist Coloring Pages

A friend of mine recently asked me to contribute some work to a coloring book she was putting together to have available at some speaking events she’s doing. She told me to just draw whatever I felt like. I was very grateful for the opportunity to be included, and I decided to do a series of more radical illustrations that highlight some of the larger issues with capitalism, racism, sexism, and other hierarchical forms of oppression in this world. The illustrations aren’t intended to make people feel bad, but rather to help them feel connected to their fellow humans and to the planet we share, and help them find a peaceful place as they color so that they can come back fresh to fight the good fight. Sometimes it’s hard not to internalize all the bad things that exist, but that isn’t what these images are about. It’s to remind and inspire us to reach past the forces holding us down, for a better existence.
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ABC Like A Girl by Ariel Shultz – Children's book featuring strong girls

ABC Like A Girl!

ABC Like A Girl by Ariel Shultz – Children's book featuring strong female role models

A brand new ABC book featuring strong female role models and positive attributes!

ABC Like a Girl by Ariel Shultz
112 full color pages
Ages pre-K through 3rd grade
$23.95
Available only from Amazon.com

 

ABC Like a Girl is out!

We’re very excited about it, since it is not only a book that portrays women and girls in a positive way to children from an early age, but also promotes literacy by teaching the alphabet and building a larger vocabulary!

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7 Children’s Books Starring Girls Your Bookshelf Needs!

ABC Like a Girl is out now, and it is an awesome book that really showcases some great role models and values for kids. If you’re excited about ABC Like a Girl, and you’re looking for more engaging children’s books that feature girls, girls of color, and girls learning about STEM subjects, and just generally girls being awesome role models for all kids, then have no fear, this is the blog post for you!

ABC Like A Girl by Ariel Shultz – Children's book featuring strong female role models

A brand new ABC book featuring strong female role models and positive attributes!

ABC Like a Girl by Ariel Shultz
112 full color pages
Ages pre-K through 3rd grade
$23.95
Available only from Amazon.com
More info here!

As a lifetime fan of children’s literature, and an Early Childhood Educator, I always have my eye out for great books that inspire kids. And while this post is going to focus on a lot of books that feature girls and women, don’t feel like that means those books aren’t for your boys. Boys benefit greatly from seeing women and girls as the heroes too!

Also, there are books on this list about girls of color, and while children of color benefit from seeing heroes like themselves, white children benefit from seeing kids of color represented, and represented in positive, and heroic ways! So, lets take a look at some great kids books: Read More

ABC Like A Girl: Update!

ABC Like a Girl is finished and I’ll be getting the physical proof from the printer any time now to look over so we can make sure it’s perfect! I’m VERY excited with how it turned out, and there is some art on there that I never even shared on Instagram or the Facebook page, so everyone is going to be in for a treat 🙂

It turned out longer than I think people were expecting. There are multiple attributes and/or careers for each letter and we wanted to give each idea it’s own room to hit home and shine. Some will resonate differently with different people and we wanted to make sure all of these important concepts felt as important as they are. So, the book is over 100 pages. Full color, paperback. I feel like it’s like a coffee table book you can actually let the kids in your life handle. Its beautiful to look at, but its not just for sitting around and looking pretty. Plus, there is going to be something new to get out of it every time they pick it up for a long time, but it isn’t a linear story, so there isn’t the worry of losing the plot and losing interest. I think this is going to be a book to capture kids attention and imagination for a long time, and I’m excited to get the proof looked at some I can finally put it out for sale.

There have been A LOT of people asking when it’s coming, and if I can, I’ll have it available before the US Election. There has been so much negative talk about women and girls during this election and I’ve heard from friends internationally it’s even showing up on news there. I want to get this out as soon as possible so families, educators, and children have a tool to positively work against those messages, and can get back on track valuing and respecting eachother and themselves.

VOTE! The Case Against Apathy.

In case you’re some kind of cave person that just thawed out of a glacier due to climate change, and haven’t been mainlining the news every day via social media, guess what! We’re in the midst of ramping up to a VERY IMPORTANT election. Most people are bitterly choosing sides, and arguing with friends, family members and strangers over two to four people: Clinton, Trump, and to a lesser but still very important extent, Johnson and Stein. Terrible things are being said and done, hate groups are endorsing candidates, people are realizing they have no actual idea what qualifies a candidate for the presidency. Basically, it’s bananas. In fact, its banana daiquiris, because, goddamn, who can get through this business without a drink? And whether you’re a jilted Bernie supporter, or some dude who lives in a Confederate Flag-festooned cabin in the Appalachian Mountains, you should care. However, this article isn’t about the Presidential election. We’ve been blasted nonstop for what feels like a life-time about the options for president. There are only 40 days left until the election, and most people have made up their mind about who they are picking for president.

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Long Term Projects

IMG_20160914_141646I have a couple of children’s book projects in the works which I have talked about, but I haven’t talked about my larger, longer term projects. One is an illustrated guide to the “Radical” Left of the political spectrum, from Progressivism, SIMG_20160706_200847ocialism, and Anarchism. I try to give an unbiased, information approach, give historic, and pop-cultural examples, and talk about benefits the “radical” movements have given to our society over the years.

The other is one called Sentimental Science, a book of short illustrated vignettes focusing on scenes that manage to humanize and emotionalize science. I want to show that everything beautiful and special that we have around us is because of scientific principals, so to be able to fully connect or to fully attain an understanding of those things we love, we must seek to understand science as well.