What’s an Abortion, Anyway?

Image Credit: Carly Manes/Emulsify

“No matter how someone has an abortion, everyone should be able to decide the way that is best for them.”

This lovely book arrived in my inbox a while ago & now is the time to share it with you.

What’s An Abortion, Anyway? is a picture book for children age 8+ that helps fill a gap in kidlit that’s existed for far too long. Children’s literature can be used to create comfortable & necessary conversations between a child, caregivers and teachers. This book is a helpful and beautiful resource to guide children in thinking about reproductive rights and the experiences of those who have abortions.

What I love about this picture book is that it is straightforward, pretty and thoughtful. Carly Manes takes great care with her words to ensure that the inclusive language of the book shines & reassures. The words “people” and “persons” are used throughout to remind readers that cis gender women are not the only people who get pregnant and have abortions. This is an important detail. The book, overall, has an extremely chill and comforting vibe, which is achieved through careful choice of words, sparse layout of the spreads and bright and earthy colors. Manes takes the time to delve into the importance of feelings and choices when describing what people who have abortions experience.

Manes also goes into some of the “whys” of the decision to have an abortion. These types of conversations help children explore empathy. This is so crucial when growing small humans. This picture book is a “science book” but it’s also a “feelings” book. Clear communication and allowing space to explore emotion is crucial in helping kids understand what abortions are about and why they are important.

Image Credit: Carly Manes/Emulsify

The spreads of this picture book are open and welcoming. Emulsify does a gorgeous job of expressing emotion through color, line, body language and white space. The use of white space in this book draws the eye towards the blocks of text and to the illustration, inviting quiet reflection. In another thoughtful detail, the illustrations of people in this picture book are all based on people who have had abortions. I love this.

As you read the book, you’ll notice a thin, curved line & bright sparkles that joyfully zip through every spread. This illustrative detail adds levity and a feeling of connectedness as the reader flows through the book. I also especially love the spread where a dark-skinned person with bright pink cornrows stands on the left side of the page while a health clinic sits on the other side, a wide expanse of road connecting them. I believe this scene might depict the experience of many people who have abortions; it is often a contemplative journey. Emulsify really packs a lot of storytelling into this particular spread through excellent use of space & vivid color.

Image Credit: Carly Manes/Emulsify

What’s an Abortion, Anyway? is a joyful and important book for youth. It opens up the discussion of abortions in a respectful and beautiful way that children will be able to connect to. I’m glad that this book exists in our world and that the talents of Carly Manes (abortion doula) and Emulsify (artist, cultural worker and organizer) combined to produce this picture book.

This book was the result of lots of support and love through the website Kickstarter. If you’d like to purchase a copy, check out the Kickstarter link here & the website here.

Take good care, everyone! Let’s keep sharing loving, supportive and empathetic literature with our youth.

Recommended for: Ages 8+
Great for: Family, Community, Abortion, Healthcare, Friendship, Discussion, Empathy, Reproductive Rights
Book InfoWhat’s an Abortion, Anyway? by Carly Manes/Illustrated by Emulsify, 2021 Kickstarter

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