Review: The Big Bath House

If you’re looking for a body positive book that is not about body positivity, I have a great pick for you today. The Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear and Gracey Zhang is a fantastic picture book that celebrates family, community, sisterhood, and bodies.

Title: The Big Bath House
Author: Kyo Maclear
Illustrator: Gracey Zhang
Publisher: Random House Studio
Published: November 16, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl and the women in her family as they spend the day at a traditional Japanese bath house, The Big Bath House is an intimate look into the life of a young girl who doesn’t always share the same language as her family. However, this doesn’t stop them from sharing traditions, rituals, and their love for one another.

The Big Bath House invites young readers to explore Japanese culture and traditions, and in doing so, opens the door to conversations about our bodies. The Big Bath House does not shy away from nudity, so if naked bodies in children’s books make you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you.

Gracey Zhang beautifully captures the female form in all of its variety. On each bath house spread, we see women of all ages, shapes, and sizes enjoying their time together as they scrub and soak. From young cousins to grandmas, each woman is comfortable, relaxed, and, of course, squeaky clean.

I am beyond thrilled to see another book that celebrates bodies on shelves. So often children are shamed to meet our culture’s idea of modesty, but I personally believe nothing good is learned from a place of shame. We all have bodies and none of us should be ashamed of them.

I would highly recommend The Big Bath House for anyone looking to introduce young readers to body positivity. You can pick up your very own copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you.)

Thank you so much to Random House Studio for sharing this amazing book with me!

About The Author:

Kyo Maclear is a critically acclaimed author whose books have received starred reviews, appeared on numerous “Best of” lists, and been published in multiple languages around the world. One of her picture books, Virginia Wolf, has been adapted for the stage, and another, Julia, Child, is currently being adapted into an animated television series. Visit her on the web at kyomaclear.com.

About The Illustrator:

Gracey Zhang is a freelance illustrator and animator. She graduated with her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her first author-illustrator picture book, Lala’s Words, was published in 2021 by Scholastic. Visit her on the web at graceyzhang.com.

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