100 LGBTQ Children’s Picture Books Reviewed

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 jlmiller1@gmail.com! If you are a blogger, avid reader, or fellow researcher, feel free to contact me!

Follow my journey by subscribing to the blog.

Phyllis Hacken Johnson’s The Boy Toy (1988)

The Boy Toy (1988), written by Phyllis Hacken Johnson and illustrated by Lena Shiffman, is a Lollipop Power Press publication that challenges gender stereotypes on multiple fronts.

The protagonist is a boy named Chad who loves a doll named Dan that his grandmother made him. When Chad starts school, he meets Sam, a boy who tends to police gender norms. Chad wants to impress Sam and doesn’t want him to find out about his doll, which prompts Chad to give Dan to his sister. Continue reading

Heather Jopling with Nickname Press (2006)

Monicka's Papa is TallRyan's Mom is TallThe Not-So-Only Child

Monicka’s Papa is Tall (2006) and Ryan’s Mom is Tall (2006), written by Heather Jopling and illustrated by Allyson Demoe, were both published by Nickname Press, an independent press founded by the author in 2006 to meet the needs of lesbian and gay families. While she was a surrogate for a gay family Jopling noticed that there were “very few children’s stories that dealt with non-traditional families in a down-to-earth manner.” These books, and a third, also published by Nickname Press, The Not-So-Only Child (2006), written by Jopling and illustrated by Lauren Page Russell, represent Jopling’s attempt to change that by providing lesbian and gay families with stories about same-gender parents. Continue reading

Angela Dalton’s If You Look Up to the Sky (2018)

If You Look Up to the SkyWritten 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

Bruce Mack’s Jesse’s Dream Skirt (1979)

Jesse's Dream SkirtJesse’s Dream Skirt (1979) is a Lollipop Power, Inc. publication written by Bruce Mack and illustrated by Marian Buchanan. The opening image depicts a semi-circle of ethnically diverse men in traditional cultural attire framing a young boy wrapped in a sheet. The text reads: “There are and were and always will be boys who wear dresses and skirts and things that whirl, twirl, flow and glow.”

Image and text position the young boy, Jesse, as part of a long line of boys and men who wear dresses and skirts. Although not a very enlightened approach to history or genealogy, the awkward first impression shouldn’t detract from the rest of this very good picture book.

Continue reading

Lesléa Newman’s Saturday is Patty Day (1993)

Image result for saturday is patty day leslea newman

Saturday is Patty Day (1993), written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Annette Hegel, is one of the earliest children’s picture books to deal with lesbian parenting and divorce. Newman does a wonderful job creating a teachable text that accounts for the challenges of seperation. I particularly appreciate her sensitive focus on the feelings of Frankie, the young child whose parents are divorcing. At every turn, the story rings true, and even 25+ years after it was originally published, Saturday is Patty Day is a good book to support parents, lesbian or not, in helping their children process divorce. Continue reading