This book is a delightful collection of stories geared toward trans children. Of course, readers of all ages can enjoy it, but the stories themselves are specifically designed to be accessible to a younger audience. I was reminded on occasion of the American Girl diaries that I read when I was younger. There’s an extensive genre of literature to inspire young cis girls, the American Girl and Royal diaries, Winx Club, W.I.T.C.H, Nancy Drew, etc., and “99% Chance of Magic” is beginning to fill that niche for young trans girls and other trans children. I make this specification because the vast majority of the stories feature explicitly trans girls or transfeminine characters. This isn’t 100% the case, however, Violet, from “The Sisters from the Stars” (Amy Eleanor Hart), is noted to sometimes prefer not having a gender at all, and Neshnaj, of “Neshnaj, the Gentle Grey Giant” (Xemiyulu Manibusan Tapepechul), uses they/them pronouns, as does Ziggy in “The Unicorn of the Sea and Me” (Jun Almar’a).
While many these stories do have young protagonists, they range from grade school age to middle/high school age, and in some stories, such as “A Shapeshifting Spell” (Misha Lynn Moon), “Can’t Stop the Princess” (Anya L. Archer), and “Melody Song & the Hymns of Infinite Sadness” (Amy Eleanor Hart), the protagonists’ later adult lives are touched on as well. I particularly enjoyed the message of “A Shapeshifting Spell,” which uses the metaphor of shapeshifting to show how the process of becoming oneself is process driven by your own will. I’m also, as a trans person myself, very weak for shapeshifting metaphors. Other stories leave age more ambiguous, such as “My Story, the Wolf” (Abbey Darling), a reimagining of the Little Red Riding Hood story, and “Night Light” (Duna Haller).
Although these stories are designed to be uplifting, they don’t shy away from dealing with difficult subject matter. Children are smart and marginalized children are going to experience difficulties regardless of how much you might want to shield them from that. “99% Chance of Magic” tackles bulling, race issues, disability and death and grief, alongside stories of reclamation, love and community.
All the stories in the collection are incredible and the illustrations that accompany them are beautiful. I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s a great book for trans children and cis children alike. It allows trans children to see themselves in stories and will help cis children to understand that they may have friends who are different like that. In an age where politicians want to criminalize trans children, books like these are more important than ever.
“99% Chance of Magic” can be purchased here.
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