Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen

Jazz Jennings

Ember June 27, 2017

Plot Summary

At the age of five, Jazz Jennings’s transition to life as a girl put her in the public spotlight after she shared her story on national television. She’s since become one of the most recognizable and prominent advocates for transgender teens, through her TV show, interviews, and social media. 
Jazz’s openness has led to bullying and mistreatment from those who don’t understand her choices. She’s fought for the right to use the girls’ bathroom and to play on a girls’ soccer team, paving the way for others. And in this book, Jazz faces an even greater struggle—dealing with the physical and social stresses of being a teen. But being on the front lines of trans activism doesn't stop Jazz from experiencing the joys of growing up, from day camp to first dates.
Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. This remarkable memoir is a testament to the power of accepting yourself, learning to live an authentic life, and helping everyone to embrace their own truths.


  • School Library Journal (July 2016): “A great introduction to trans life for middle schoolers and a balancing addition to the more harrowing stories available. Jazz Jennings has been in the public eye for a long time, drawing media attention when her family allowed her to transition at a very young age. In this memoir, Jennings (now 15) shares stories and experiences from her life as an openly trans girl. The memoir shares a varied and anecdotal account of her life. The teen's successes and nearly limitless self-confidence and optimism will be reassuring for the family and friends of trans youth, but older teens may find the book hard to relate to. A very accessible resource list is included, as well as interviews with the Jennings family.”


  • Booklist (June 2016. Starred): “Jazz knew from the time she could form a coherent thought that she was a girl. Officially diagnosed at age 3 with what was then called Gender Identity Disorder, Jazz—thanks to extraordinarily supportive parents—began to come out at age 5. Obviously, Jazz’s is not an ordinary life, but it serves as a role model and inspiration for LGBT kids, who will recognize the kinds of problems she has encountered and overcome: not being permitted to use the girls’ restroom or to be a member of the girls’ soccer team—not to mention love troubles. She has survived them gracefully, as her well-written, informative, and accessible memoir evidences.”


Kirkus (May 2016): “Jazz began their outreach and advocacy work, even starting their own organization and agreeing to do a reality show. As Jennings relates, through it all, she manages to keep it apart from her typical teenage life. Her outlook is bright, even as she struggles with depression—hereditary and unrelated to being trans. Jazz is fearlessly up front with people about being trans, and her gender meter is pinned on GIRL, but she also touches on gender variations and carefully stresses that not all trans people are like her. Jazz’s positivity, honesty, frank explanations, and conversational writing style make this an ideal book for trans kids to hand to worried loved ones after they’ve finished reading it.”

Response to challenges

Collier County, Florida: According to the PEN America article Collier County, FL “has attached a warning to the description label of 100 books listed on the district’s online library catalog and physical labels were affixed to hard copies of the same books.”

Lee County Schools, Florida: Book is banned pending an investigation started by the adminstration in the school. Many news articles are subscription only with exact details.

St. Lucie Public Schools, Florida: Book is banned in libraries through the Formal Challlenge Process

Walton County School District, Florida: Book is banned pending an investigation started by the adminstration in the school.

Collierville Schools, Tennessee: Book was removed from shelves for a review process, banned from libraries and classrooms by the administration. According to a new article from August 2022 books have been returned to shelves at this time.

Grandbury ISD, Texas: Book was banned pending an investigation by the administration of the school district. At this time the book appears to have been placed back on the shelves.

North East ISD, Texas: Book was banned pending an investigation by the administration of the school district. At this time the book appears to have been placed back on the shelves.

Reference list

Being jazz | kirkus reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2022, from

Being jazz: My life as a (Transgender) teen, by jazz jennings | booklist online. (n.d.).

Retrieved October 9, 2022, from gs/pid=8217269

Brown, D. J., September 22, F. P., & 2022. (2022, September 22). Report: FL ranked No. 2 in challenges and bans of school library books last year. Florida Phoenix. of-school-library-books-last-year/

Crum, B. (2022, March 15). NEISD removes more than 100 books after review of lawmaker’s list. San Antonio Report. use-list/

Florida school district slaps stigmatizing and alarming warning labels on books deemed “unsuitable” for children. (2022, August 5). PEN America. arning-labels-on-books-deemed-unsuitable-for-children/

“It’s surreal”: Collierville Schools removes LGBTQ+ books from library shelves. (2022, August 9). Localmemphis.Com.

Jazz, J. (n.d.). Being jazz: My life as a (Transgender) teen. School Library Journal. Retrieved October 9, 2022, from

Library services / campus library title updates. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Oxner, R. (2022, March 1). ACLU wants North Texas school district to apologize for removing over 100 library books. The Texas Tribune.

Walton County schools pulls books flagged by statewide nonprofit. (2022, May 6). WUWF. ged-by-statewide-nonprofit


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