In Jacob’s New Dress the protagonist shares his desire to wear a dress with his parents. They take a little convincing but are quite supportive; in fact, Jacob’s mom helps him sew a dress. Jacob does deal with bullying when he wears his new dress to school, but his best friend Sophie, a supportive girl who reappears in Jacob’s Room to Choose, stands up for him. Continue reading
Perez Hilton’s The Boy with Pink Hair (2011) is a bubblegum pink drenched story of an exceptional pink-haired boy who is loved and supported by his family but bullied at school because of his unique appearance. The Boy with Pink Hair isn’t given a proper name, instead he is identified by the one thing that sets him about from everyone else.
Sam!, Penny Candy Books’ upcoming release about a transgender boy’s decision to share his gender identity with his family, is thoughtfully written by Dani Gabriel and warmly illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo. The story centers on a racially ambiguous family, all with thick dark hair and tan skin warmed by yellow undertones. This makes it one of only a handful of queer children’s books to engage both racial and gender diversity through major characters. Continue reading
What Riley Wore (2019), written by Elana K. Arnold, explores the creativity and sensitivity of a nonbinary/gender creative child as they navigate everyday life from the dentist’s office to the playground. This accessible children’s picture book is colorfully and cartoonishly illustrated by Linda Davick with a touch of whimsy that doesn’t detract from the text’s realism. Continue reading
I am recuperating from a 5 night adventure. I flew to Indianapolis on June 12 for ChLA’s 2019 conference where I presented my work about LGBTQ children’s non-fiction picture books. There are only a handful of children’s picture books that explore aspects of LGBTQ history and I discussed their transformative potential and limitations during my presentation: LGBTQ Children’s Picture Books Now: Between the Past and the Future.
If we build a rich archive of children’s nonfiction that centers diverse experiences of differently classed, raced, and gendered subjects we might just begin to create the type of critical consciousness needed to take account of various modes of oppression that work in tandem. We might also be able to imagine becoming queer as a project in empathy and understanding that forces us to rethink attachments to oppressive ideas, identities, and institutions that reproduce oppression, indignity, and injustice for a newly conceptualized all of us.
I was only there a couple of days before flying to Saratoga Springs, NY to participate in a workshop for an open access Introduction to LGBTQ Studies textbook project I’m contributing to. I’m writing chapters about queer theory and LGBTQ children’s picture books. I’m so excited about this project because it will make information about two of my favorite topics available to students for FREE! It was wonderful to talk with folks who love all things queer! But, it was a lot of flying!
It is often thought that boyish girls have it easier than girlish boys. In fact, the idea that girls can more easily wear clothes and play with toys associated with boys is often used to diminish the challenges of being a tomboy. This book illustrates the policing of gender and hurt it causes. Continue reading