A Tale of Two Daddies, written by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Kristin Blackwood and Mike Blanc, tells the story of a young girl and what life is like with her Daddy and Poppa. A friend asks her a set of questions about which dad has which role in her life, ie which makes breakfast, which coaches soccer, etc. She answers with either Daddy, Poppa, both, or neither. The questions and following answers are all told in rhyme, which is catchy for kids. 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 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 email@example.com! If you are a blogger, avid reader, or fellow researcher, feel free to contact me!
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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
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
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
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
Jesse’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.
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
A Church for All (2018), written by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Laure Fournier, is a charming tale about LGBTQ spirituality that is influenced by one church’s social justice approach to religion. In an informative end note, Pitman describes attending Glide Memorial Church, the church that inspires the book, at the suggestion of a friend. She writes: “For the first time I found a spiritual community that fully accepted and embraced LGBTQ people.” Continue reading