This Book Will Spark Conversation About Food, Body Image, and Self-Worth

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written by Alyson Gerber
As a kid, I spent a lot of time comparing my problems to other people’s and telling myself I was fine, when I wasn’t. My struggles with self-worth, body image, and food had a big impact on my physical and mental health. Now, more than half of kids are having a hard time feeling good in their bodies.


My new middle grade novel TAKING UP SPACE is about a basketball player struggling to feel confident in her body and herself. She doesn’t have an eating disorder, and so she’s wrongly convinced that she doesn’t need help.



My hope is that TAKING UP SPACE will ignite multi-generational conversations between kids and adults about food, body image, and self-worth. This topic can be challenging for many adults too. If you’re not sure how to talk to your kids about these issues or even if you are, I hope you’ll consider reading TAKING UP SPACE together. This book is a great way for parents and teachers to address this important topic that is impacting so many people right now.


In addition, TAKING UP SPACE will give readers the chance to consider how they’ve learned to value themselves, how they’ve been taught to assess their worth, and what they have been made to feel they deserve. Everyone deserves to get the help they need.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a great opportunity to check in with kids, ask how they are doing, and give them space to share how they are feeling. It’s so important for kids to be able to express themselves. They need to feel seen, heard, and validated. If your child is struggling to share, I really recommend reading together. It’s a great way to connect and start the process of opening up a conversation.


About Alyson Gerber
alyson gerber
Alyson Gerber is the author of the critically-acclaimed, own-voices novels Taking Up SpaceFocused, and Braced published by Scholastic. She has an MFA from The New School in Writing for Children and lives in New York City with her family. Visit her at and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alysongerber and on Facebook @AlysonGerberBooks.
Note From Melissa:

Thank you so much, Alyson!
Readers, I highly recommend Taking Up Space! Girls and boys need this book — they need to know that body image issues and eating disorders happen to other kids, too, that puberty changes their body, and there is NO shame in getting help from a therapist.
This Will Spark a Conversation About Food, Body Image, and Self-Worth
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