A young Dumplin’ meets Melissa in this joyful and energetic middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl living her life to the fullest, celebrating her love for sports and fighting for her right to cheer.
Joy, a twelve-year-old trans girl, just moved to Texas with her mother and older brother. Her family has accepted Joy as the girl she is early in her transition, with little fuss, leaving Joy to explore her love of sports, competition, teamwork, school spirit, and worship.
But when she is told she’s off the cheerleading team, Joy wants to fight for her right to cheer. As her battle with the school board picks up momentum, Joy attracts support from kids all around the country . . . she even gets the attention of her hero, trans activist Kai Shappley.
Inspired by Kai’s own life, Joy, to the World is a timely story of living life to the fullest, celebrating and centering trans joy, courage, and resilience.
Kai Shappley is a young American actress and activist. When she was in fourth grade, she stood up to the Texas State Legislature against their attack against trans kids. Her journey was recorded in the Emmy winning documentary, Trans in America: Texas Strong. She has also guest starred in the first season of the Babysitters Club on Netflix. She loves her family, friends, pets, and Dolly Parton!
Lisa Bunker (she/vo/they) is the author of Felix Yz and Zenobia July, two novels for young readers that feature many LGBTQ+ characters without that being the preachy point. From 2018 to 2022 she served the town of Exeter in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Lisa is married and has three grown children. Her geekeries include chess, bass-playing, gender, storycraft, and language. She lives in Sacramento, California.
“A vibrant battle cry for rainbow kids” — Kirkus Reviews
“Shappley and Bunker gently immerse readers in the reality of trans kids' lives, first showcasing the absolute joy it can be for someone to be able to simply be themselves. The authors never talk down to readers, using language and concept that will appeal directly to their target audience…This affirming read emphasizes the importance of advocating for trans kids, establishing healthy boundaries, and prioritizing the joy of self-expression.” — Booklist
This is an inspiring story about Joy, of course, but really about the power of being your true authentic self, and the beauty that lies within fighting for yourself and for others. I would encourage every kid and their parents to dive into this beautiful book. — Megan Rapinoe Athlete Activist
At a time when media and society focus sharply on dividing us, this story reminds us of a universal truth: we are all more alike than we are different. “Joy, to the World” is a page-turner for audiences of all ages and is sure to inspire every reader to fight for their own rights and the rights of their friends. — Chris Mosier Trailblazing Transgender Athlete
It’s said that “readers are leaders,” but we must remember that writers are as well. Kai and Lisa are leading us all to love more as we listen and learn to the voices and lived experiences of trans students. May we all learn to be ourselves, tell our stories, and fight for others. Read this book, y’all! — Jed Dearybury Educator, Author, Illustrator
“Both heart warming and heart wrenching, this book truly captures a glimpse into the powers of Ms Kai Shappley. If the Dolly Parton references didn’t hook you, this story of Joy will. A love letter to all who choose to read it, I am excited to share this book with the world at large!” — Malia Baker