The Transformative Potential of LGBTQ+ Children’s Picture Books

This week's review provides a historical overview of LGBTQ+ picture books, analyzing how LGBTQ+ individuals have been depicted over time and how children's books with LGBTQ+ themes can transform society.

The Transformative Potential of LGBTQ+ Children’s Picture Books

Miller, Jennifer. University Press of Mississippi, 2022
270p bibl index, 9781496839992 $99.00, 9781496840004 $25.00, 9781496840011

The Transformative Potential of  LGBTQ+ Children's Picture Books book cover.

Miller (Univ. of Texas, Arlington) examines the relatively recent genesis of children’s picture books exploring LGBTQ+ issues, and examines a variety of such books written to address these issues. The text is organized in seven chapters that address the intersection of LGBTQ+ issues and children’s literature, a genealogy of the early years of children’s LGBTQ+ books, the treatment of LGBTQ+ adults in such books, coverage of “sissy boys” and tomboys, queer and gender-fluid youth, sexuality, and interpretations of LGBTQ+ individuals and events throughout history. There are three appendixes, the first containing the author’s correspondence with pioneer LGBTQ+ author Jane Severance, the second containing correspondence with author Daniel Haak, and the third containing an archive of most LGBTQ+ children’s books published between 1991 and 2018. This is an outstanding resource that could be useful as a reference work but which could also easily serve as a class text. An interesting complement to works such as Rebecca Strickson’s Queerstory: An Infographic History of the Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights (2020) or Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown’s We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation (2019).

Summing Up: Essential. General readers through faculty; professionals.
: S. T. Schroth, Towson University
Interdisciplinary Subject: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Studies
: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Education
Choice Issue: Feb 2023

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