Scholarship

I’ve been researching and writing about LGBTQ+ picture books for about six years. My research and the difficulties I had identifying and accessing LGBTQ+ picture books prompted me to create this blog. I hope educators, librarians, families, and scholars find it a useful resource. I’m always available to answer questions and have discussions. Feel free to email me at raisethemrighteous@gmail.com!

My earliest work was published in Heroes, Heroines, and Everything in Between: Challenging Gender and Sexuality Stereotypes in Children’s Entertainment Media. My contribution, “A Little Queer: Ambivalence and the Work of Gender Play in Children’s Literature,” explores Cheryl Kilodavis’s My Princess Boy and Marcu Ewert’s 10,000 Dresses.

I presented this work at the National Women’s Studies (NWSA) annual conference in 2018. Many attendees were surprised to learn that so many picture books existed. The surprise and excitement of attendees who heard my presentation encouraged me to consider the political potential of public-facing scholarship. That’s when I started thinking about creating a blog.

I continued to dabble in LGBTQ+ picture books and presented work at the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) annual conference in 2018 and 2019.

I published my first blog post in July 2018, after attending and being inspired by the intellectual and creative energy circulating at ChLA’s conference. Work on the blog prompted me to think more critically about blogs, queer kids, and all sorts of other stuff. I was invited to co-edit a collection called The Dialectic of Digital Culture that explored the contradictions of digital culture – it’s promise, pitfalls, and problematic binds. My contribution, “Queering the Straight World?: Mommyblogs, Queer Kids, and Digital World Making,” considers the politics of straight cisgender parents of queer kids being at the helm of queer worldmaking projects. In this essay, I develop the idea of queer love as well as an early understanding of critical optimism, a framework I use in my recent scholarship to consider the queer possibilities and normative attachments found in much LGBTQ+ children’s culture. It’s all related!

I began writing a yearly review of queer theory for Oxford Press’s The Year in Critical and Cultural Theory in 2018. My contributions focus on issues that interest me:

“Queer Theory: Queer Presences.”

“Queer Theory: Queer Children, Queer Childhoods.”

“Queer Theory: Resistance.”

“Queer Theory: Revisiting Gender.”

In 2019 my article, “For the Little Queers: Imagining Queerness in “New” Queer Children’s Literature,”was published in as special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality, which was edited by Bruce Drushel. In 2020, Routledge published the issue as a book called LGBTQ Culture: The Changing Landscape.

This essay, more than anything else, really solidified my investment in LGBTQ+ picture books. In it I explore picture books about transgender and gender creative youth, noting that the focus on young people marks a shift in the field, which historically focused on lesbian- and gay-parented families.

What’s next?

I have two forthcoming publications with the University Press of Mississippi. First, The Transformative Potential of LGBTQ+ Children’s Picture Books, will be available Spring 2022. This text identifies, taxonomizes, and analyzes over 200 English-language LGBTQ+ picture books. It is part genealogy, part cultural study, and is meant to serve as an introduction to the field that will be engaging and accessible to a non-expert audience.

My second project, currently titled Reading LGBTQ+ Picture Books, brings together 15 contributors with unique intellectual expertise in picture books. These contributors explore a variety of topics, including: 1) children and agency, 2) transgender and nonbinary parents, 3) lack of racial diversity, 4) the meaning of animal characters, and 5) religious ritual. I’m honored to have received a Faculty Research Grant from the Children’s Literature Association to complete this project!

I am thrilled to be able to work with such an awesome archive and such amazing scholars. I’m truly happy to discuss my work with you. 🙂

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