Belinda’s Bouquet (1991), an Alyson Wonderland publication written by Lesléa Newman and cheerfully illustrated by Michael Willhoite, is a far more subtle depiction of lesbian parenting than was common in the early 1990s. The story is narrated by a young boy named Daniel, although it focuses on his best friend Belinda’s body image. Continue reading
Welcome, Otis!, written and illustrated by Laurie Ingersoll, is a quirky picture book that delivers an important lesson about loving someone with special needs even when it is difficult.
Readers are introduced to Otis when a cat named Mouse and a mouse named Moose startle him while on a walk. Mouse understands that they must have alarmed the “bundle of feathers” with a “bright colored tail” and has the foresight to stay calm and be gentle with the nervous Otis. Once Otis relaxes he shares his story with them. It turns out Otis fell from a tree before learning to fly and is now all alone in the world. Mouse and Moose decide they will let Otis live with them so they can help him. Continue reading
Have I mentioned how much I adore Penny Candy Books?? I have never met a Penny Candy Books’ publication I haven’t loved.
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I reviewed their amazing upcoming release by Danni Gabriel, Sam!, about a transgender boy coming out to his Latinx family as well as other titles, like the much needed A Card for my Father by Samantha Thornhill. Thornhill’s book explores how incarceration influences families from the point-of-view of a little girl who has never met her father.
If you are not familiar with Penny Candy Books, check them out. They offer dozens of titles that explore socially relevant topics told with brilliant and beautiful cultural specificity.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org! 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