I am Jazz (2014) is an autobiographical children’s picture book co-authored by Jessica Herthel and the title character, Jazz Jennings. Jennings, now a young transgender woman with her own TLC show, first entered the spotlight in 2007 when she was featured on a 20/20 documentary about transgender children. This book […]
I teach literature, writing, gender studies, and interdisciplinary studies in Arlington, TX. My current research explores LGBTQ+ children's picture books. I blog about children's literature at https://raisethemrighteous.wordpress.com.
Maya Gonzalez’s necessary children’s picture book, When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity in Oppressive Times (2017), sends a positive message to children about the power of creativity, awareness, self-care, and community engagement. When a Bully is President requires reflection and discussion, preferably with a knowledgeable person who can […]
Written and illustrated by Helga Bansch, Odd Bird Out is the story of a flamboyant raven named Robert. Bansch introduces a fabulously queer character who finds himself by leaving his repressive nest. Although not widely available, Bansch’s raucous picture book is worth the hunt!
Annie’s Plaid Shirt (2015) is the cleverly crafted tale of a plaid shirt loving girl whose mother doesn’t quite understand how important her shirt is to her identity. Written by Stacy B. Davids, a clinical psychologist, and warmly illustrated by Rachel Balsaitis, this text earns four thumbs up from me […]
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (2014), thoughtfully written by Christine Baldacchino and warmly illustrated in deep swirling oranges by Isabelle Malenfant, is my favorite of the many books about gender creative children published since Cheryl Kilodavis’s 2009 My Princess Boy.
Written and illustrated by Daniel W. Vandever, “Fall in Line, Holden!” (2017), subtly references the American government’s forceful separation of indigenous children from their families, community, and culture. Sent to boarding schools, indigenous children were required to adopt Western names, hairstyles, language, and culture in a violent effort at assimilation. […]
I love Zetta Elliott’s 2016 picture book Milo’s Museum. This book is clever, original, relatable, politically relevant, and sweet; in other words, everything I could want in a children’s book and a few things I need. Purple Wong’s detailed and deeply meaningful illustrations complement Elliott’s story brilliantly. Wong adds multiple […]
¡Sí, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can! (2005), a bilingual text written by Diana Cohn and illustrated by Francisco Delgado, explores the Los Angeles Janitor Strike of 2010 from the perspective of a family participating in it. The text opens with the mother of a young boy, Carlitos, tucking him […]
I was initially attracted to Gwendolyn Brooks’ collection of poems, Bronzeville Boys and Girls, because I enjoy the author’s work for adult audiences. I was not disappointed. Originally published in 1956, when depictions of African Americans in children’s literature were even more dismal than they are now, Brooks managed to […]
With the help of a Kickstarter Campaign, Innosanto Nagara’s A is for Activist was published in 2012. As the title suggests, it is the obvious alphabet book choice for any budding social justice warrior’s collection.