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.
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. Reviewer: S. T. Schroth, Towson University Interdisciplinary Subject: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Studies Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Education Choice Issue: Feb 2023
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