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
I have reviewed over 100 LGBTQ* children’s picture books on my blog!
I am writing a book about LGBTQ* children’s picture books and as I identify, analyze, and evaluate books for my scholarship, I am reviewing the books on my blog. I hope the blog will be a public resource for educators, librarians, caregivers, and others interested in queering children’s bookshelves!
My reviews are of English-language books available in the US between 1971 and 2019.These books represent gay and lesbian parenting, gender expansive and transgender children, HIV/AIDS, queer grandparents, LGBTQ historical figures and histories, and so much more!
If you are an author or publisher and I haven’t reviewed your work, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you are a blogger, avid reader, or fellow researcher, feel free to contact me!
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Too Far Away to Touch (1995), thoughtfully written by Lesléa Newman and movingly illustrated by Catherine Stock, follows a young girl as she processes her beloved uncle’s AIDS-related illness.
The child, Zoe, loves her uncle, Leonard, who takes her on adventures in New York City when he visits her. On one visit Zoe plans to tease him by pretending she’s found his lost marbles in his thick head of hair. Things don’t go quite as planned because he’s wearing a beret when he arrives, so Zoe saves the trick for later. Continue reading
Max: The Stubborn Little Wolf (1996), written by Marie-Odile Judes and illustrated by Martine Bourre, is the story of a young wolf who wants to be a florist when he grows up. His father, a hypermasculine wolf, is sure he’ll go mad if his son becomes a florist and attempts to change his mind. Continue reading
Losing Uncle Tim, written by MaryKate Jordan and illustrated by Judith Friedman, was published by Albert Whitman & Company in 1989. It is narrated in the first person by a boy, Daniel, who is processing the illness and eventual death of his uncle due to an AIDS-related illness.
The story is breathtakingly painful. It beautifully captures the relationship between Daniel and his uncle, Tim, as well as Daniel’s deep emotions. Friedman’s illustrations, which face Jordan’s text, look like snapshots from a photo album. This technique provides a sense of intimacy and urgency as the story progresses. Continue reading
What Are Parents? (2004), written by Kyme and Susan Fox-Lee and illustrated by Randy Jennings, is one example of a surge of books featuring lesbian and gay parents that arose in the early-2000s. It is deliberate and thorough in its depiction of diverse family forms as well as religious and ethnic diversity. Continue reading
Written by Angela Dalton and illustrated by Margarita Sikorshai, If You Look Up to the Sky, is a beautiful story that subtly explores intergenerational love and nurturance as well as the vastness and intimacy of the universe.
The book opens with the narrator telling a story to an unknown listener: “When I was a little girl,/ I used to sit on my grandmother’s lap/ and we would look up to the sky/ and she would say…”. The accompanying warmly illustrated image depicts a young girl with brown skin in a pink dress sitting in the lap of an older brown-skinned woman whose long grey hair is braided. The older woman sits in a rocking chair and they both look up at the sky. Continue reading