YA Books that Encourage Body Positivity

Posted on May 5, 2021

by Joyce S

People of all ages experience body negativity and insecurity. We are constantly under the scrutiny of needing to be thin or fit. Let’s continue to advocate for the body-positive image. Let’s start with these reads, all of which promote body positivity!  

A Library card and PIN will be required to access many of the resources listed.  Need help with your card or PIN?  Contact your nearest location or call 419-259-5200. Need a new card?

Cover of The Universe is Expanding and So Am I

The Universe is Expanding and So Am I
By Carolyn Mackler

As New York City teenager Virginia learns to accept her plus-size body and struggles to cope with her brother’s suspension from college for date rape, she finds herself losing interest in boyfriend Froggy and growing closer to new boy Sebastian until a terrible secret threatens everything.

Cover of To Be Honest

To Be Honest
By Maggie Ann Martin

Overdrive eBook   |   Overdrive Digital Audiobook

Savannah’s mother has become overbearing regarding weight and body image. Meanwhile, Savannah meets the cute new guy at school, who has insecurities of his own.

Cover of The Impossible Light

The Impossible Light
By Lily Myers

From the YouTube slam poetry star of “Shrinking Women” comes a poetic novel about body image, eating disorders, self-worth, mothers, and daughters, as well as the psychological scars we inherit from our parents. Myers takes us through the journey of fifteen-year-old Ivy, who is just trying to keep it cool while her parents are going through a divorce on top of losing touch with her best friend, her body changing, and keeping up the appearance of “The Smart Girl” in school.

Cover of The New David Espinoza

The New David Espinoza
By Fred Aceves

Obsessed with the idea that he is not muscular enough and tired of being bullied, David, age seventeen, begins using steroids, endangering his relationships with family and friends.

Cover of Girls Can Do Anything

Girls Can Do Anything
By Caryl Hart

Rhyming text and vibrant illustrations celebrate the uniqueness of girls, from the endless variety in their physical attributes to the various activities they enjoy to the many remarkable things they can achieve.

Cover of Rebel with a Cupcake

Rebel with a Cupcake
By Anna Mainwaring

Although she has never worried about her weight, a problem with her outfit and an encounter with a bully make Jess question her lack of concern with her own image.

Cover of Animals Brag About Their Bottoms

Animals Brag About Their Bottoms
By Maki Saito

All bottoms are wonderful! Don’t you agree? Each animal in this adorable book has a different reason for loving their behind–from cute and round to fashionable and striped! Talented illustrator Maki Saito makes kids laugh out loud with playful illustrations of the backsides of hippos, zebras, pandas, mandrills, and more of our favorite animals. Her traditional Japanese art techniques add a sophisticated, beautiful feel to a book about … animal butts!

Cover of Imperfect: A Story of Body Image

Imperfect: A Story of Body Image
By Dounya Awada

This is a story of Dounya Awada, a 24-year-old devout Muslim who is happy, healthy, and very much alive. But just a few years before, she nearly starved to death. Follow her through her journey of struggle with self-esteem, body image, and eating disorders, to how she is now a strong advocate for young boys and girls who may be going through similar avenues.

Cover of Ink in Water, an illustrated memoir: or, how I kicked anorexia’s ass and embraced body positivity!

Ink in Water, an illustrated memoir: or, how I kicked anorexia’s ass and embraced body positivity!
By Lacy J. Davis

At once punk rock and poignant, Ink in Water is the visceral and groundbreaking graphic memoir of a young woman’s devastating struggle with negative body image and eating disorders, and how she rose above her own destructive behaviors and feelings of inadequacy to live a life of strength and empowerment.

Cover of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
By Crystal Maldonado

Overdrive eBook

Charlie Vega is many things: smart, funny, artistic, ambitious, fat. The last one is an issue especially with her mom. Charlie wants more than anything in the world to love her body, but it is hard, especially with her mom leaving weight loss shakes on her dresser all the time. There’s one person that is always by Charlie’s side, and that is her best friend Amelia, who is pretty much the total opposite of her. Charlie starts dating Brian, a cute guy and the first boy to ever notice her. Everything seems peachy until she finds out that Brian had, in fact, asked Amelia out first.

Cover of I’ll Be the One

I’ll Be the One
By Lyla Lee

Overdrive eBook

Skye Shin dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, but in order to do that, she has to break all the rules: even the ones about fat girls that shouldn’t dance or wear bright colors. Skye nails her audition and is instantly swept into the entertainment world, even having to face the highly fat-phobic beauty standards that come with the Korean pop industry.

Cover of Here the Whole Time

Here the Whole Time
By Vitor Martins

Felipe understands that he is fat. Not chubby or big-boned. Everyone likes to remind him of this and he simply wants to get away from it all by hiding in his house during school break. His plans come to a screeching halt when his mom tells him that his neighbor, Caio will be spending two weeks with them. He has no idea how he is going to keep his neighbor (who he has had a crush on since forever) entertained.

Cover of What I Like About Me

What I Like About Me
By Jenna Guillaume

hoopla eBook

With her dad being AWOL and her older sister rocking out her confidence, the last thing on Maisie’s mind was entering a beauty pageant. Things go from bad to worse when her best friend starts flirting with the boy that Maisie has her eyes on.

Cover of Juliet Takes a Breath

Juliet Takes a Breath
By Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote

Overdrive eBook -Penguin Young Readers   |   Overdrive eBook – Riverdale Avenue Books   |   hoopla Digital Graphic

A graphic novel adaptation of the beloved book of the same name, Juliet is headed to Portland, Oregon for an internship with her favorite feminist author!

Cover of Goddess in the Machine

Goddess in the Machine
By Lora Beth Johnson

Andra goes into a cryonic sleep for a 100-year trip across the galaxy. She wakes up in the year 3102 with everyone around her calling her Goddess. She just wants to know why she was left in stasis and how to get back home to Earth.

Cover of Faith Taking Flight

Faith Taking Flight
By Julie Murphy

Overdrive eBook

Faith can usually be found hanging out with her best friends while volunteering at the local animal shelter, obsessing over teen dramas, and flying. When people start disappearing from town, will Faith overcome her distractions to help save them?

Cover of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
By Mona Awad

Overdrive eBook   |   Overdrive Digital Audiobook

Follows Lizzie, a young woman growing up in Mississauga, as she fights her way from fat to thin, but who still, even as a married adult woman, sees herself as a fat girl.

Looking for more related content?

Here are a few selections just for you!

  • Beach vacations can be a blast. Unless you're a character in a book, in which case maybe you should just stay home.

  • Celebrate the late Tim Sale with some of his greatest comics.

  • If you find parades and crowds overwhelming, there are still a lot of ways to celebrate Pride! Here are some great ideas for quiet gays (or introverts in general).