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A new body positivity book for children is teaching change

“Her Body Can” shows true worth comes from the inside.
Illustrator Li Liu worked to represent all genders, races, and backgrounds throughout the book.
Illustrator Li Liu worked to represent all genders, races and backgrounds throughout the "Her Body Can" book.Courtesy of Body Can Books
/ Source: TODAY

The body-positivity movement has landed in a refreshing new location — bookshelves for kids.

Frustrated with the status quo in children’s books, Atlanta-based moms Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke set out to create a feel-good story with a plus-sized main character. The result? “Her Body Can,” a declaration of self-love and body positivity directed at young readers, which debuted as a number one best-seller on Amazon within a week of its launch.

The "Her Body Can" children's book encourages young readers to love themselves.
"Her Body Can" encourages young readers to love themselves.Courtesy of Body Can Books

“We wanted to represent underrepresented children in a way that promotes inclusiveness, self-love and love for all of those around us no matter who they are or what they look like,” Meschke told TODAY Parents. “The idea is all about encouraging littles to do whatever it is they love in life regardless of what society might one day tell them they can or cannot do based on what they look like.”

The co-authors deliver body-positive messaging through easy-to-understand narration and illustrations that aim to captivate children ages 8 and under.

“Our illustrator worked hard to depict all different genders, races and backgrounds on the pages,” Meschke said. “The idea is to encourage love of your peers and inclusiveness through representation.”

"Her Body Can" co-authors Ady Meschke and Katie Crenshaw
"We wanted to represent underrepresented children in a way that promotes inclusiveness and self-love," said Ady Meschke, pictured on the left with "Her Body Can" co-author, Katie Crenshaw.Courtesy of Body Can Books

Later this year, the duo plan to launch another book called “His Body Can.” They hope to write about gender differences and neutrality, disabilities and other diversity-related topics in future books.

Crenshaw and Meschke’s literary work is the latest in a string of body-positive messaging to hit the mainstream in recent weeks, including Abercrombie & Fitch ditching its edgy image in favor of inclusive advertising and Chanel featuring a plus-size model at Paris Fashion Week for the first time since 2010.

“Society can be harsh,” Meschke explained. “Many kids grow up feeling judged and limited based on what they look like. ... Teaching our kids to have a healthy body image and love themselves no matter what can stop those self-conscious feelings from ever limiting the choices they make in life.”

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