Jonathan Van Ness reads his children’s book about a non-binary guinea pig for bored kids stuck at home
Jonathan Van Ness did an Instagram live reading yesterday of his new children’s book Peanut Goes for the Gold, which is about a non-binary guinea pig, for children stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Peanut Goes for the Gold, which goes on sale on Tuesday, March 31, is published by Harper Collins and illustrated by Gillian Reid.
According to the publisher, the picture book “encourages children to not just be themselves – but to boldly and unapologetically love being themselves”.
Van Ness took to Instagram live on Monday to do live reading of Peanut Goes for the Gold for the first time, joined by his cat Mathilda.
Beaming with pride, he said of the book’s release: “I can’t believe it, and Mathilda can’t believe it either.”
It follows the adventures of Peanut, a non-binary guinea pig, who uses they/them pronouns and does everything “with their own personal flare”.
Peanut decides to become a rhythmic gymnastic, a nod to Van Ness’ recent foray into gymnastics, and though something goes wrong, they manage to make their routine their own.
After reading the story, Van Ness said: “This is obviously a really difficult time that everyone is going through and I hope that this book can bring a little bit of joy and just a little bit of light into people’s lives at this time.
“I really became obsessed with guinea pigs in fifth grade because my fifth grade teacher had a class guinea pig. I mean, I literally am 32 now and I was nine then, and I still haven’t stopped talking about guinea pigs.
“Teachers are so important and school is so important and I just hope that everyone is getting through this time as best they can… Kisses to everyone and I hope you’re having a good quaran-queen.”
Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary last year.
He said: “I just am either like gender-bendy or non-conform-y or non-binary and somedays I feel like a boy and somedays I feel like a girl.
“I didn’t think I was allowed to be non-conforming or genderqueer or non-binary — I was just always like ‘a gay man’ because that’s just the label I thought I had to be.”
He added: “Comments come from everyone, but I really feel like if you’re expressing yourself and like that’s what you really feel, then I don’t care. I’m just being who I wanna be.”