Made by Raffi (2014), written by Craig Pomranz and illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain follows Raffi as he identifies and explores activities that make him happy. The story takes place in the spring, and Chamberlain’s bright illustrations of green grass, pretty flowers, and clear blue skies set the tone of possibility and growth that is thematically explored by Pomranz. Continue reading
Andrew Wheeler has edited a brilliant collection of eighteen LGBTQ2SIA+ comics targeted to a teen audience. This much needed anthology, Shout Out, begins with a thoughtful foreword by Nalo Hopkinson who testifies to the significance of the collection for queer teens who rarely see representation of gender and sexuality that mirror their identities and experiences.
Most of the comics tell cotton candy sweet love stories and Hopkinson notes she was at first critical of this idealistic picture of queer love. But she then exhaled and realized the stories made her happy. She writes: Continue reading
The Generous Jefferson Bartleby Jones (1991) is a delightfully quirky children’s picture book, written by Forman Brown and illustrated by Leslie Trawin. Outrageous rhymes and illustrations work together to communicate the story of Jefferson Bartleby Jones who has an unfortunately lengthy name but a fabulous family. He spends three days of the week living with his dads, and the remaining four days with his mom. Continue reading
Queer-affirming children’s book Large Fears (2015) is the product of a collaboration between writer Myles E. Johnson and illustrator Kendrick Daye. Each two page-spread is a vignette combining prose-poetry, photographs, black and white sketches, and color blasts that provide readers with access to the witty, whimsical, controlled chaos of young Jeremiah’s mind. Jeremiah is a queer black boy who loves pink and wants to go to Mars but his fears are almost as big as his dreams and they keep him Earth-bound. Continue reading
A Princess of Great Daring (2015), written by Tobi Hill-Meyer and illustrated by Elenore Toczynski, is about a transgender girl named Jamie and her friends.
Jamie has not seen her friends all summer and plans on telling them about her gender identity. Her two moms drop her off at her friend’s house as all of her buddies are starting to play a game. They will be princes and will save a princess form distress. Jamie says she would like to be a princess and the boys are excited to have someone to rescue, but she interrupts the traditional narrative declaring that she will be “a princess of great daring.” Concerned that they will have no one to rescue, one of the boys, Liam, volunteers to be captured by a dragon. Continue reading
Jack (Not Jackie) (2018), written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Holly Hatam, adds an important perspective to the existing archive of children’s picture books about transgender and gender creative kids. This thoughtfully told and cheerfully illustrated tale is narrated from the point-of-view of a girl experiencing her transgender younger brother come into his identity. In an article for Watermark Online, Ryan Williams-Jent, writes: “It’s the second picture book in a partnership between GLAAD—the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization—and Bonnier Publishing USA, which publishes over 150 books annually. The collaboration aims to integrate and elevate positive LGBTQ representation throughout children’s literature by releasing at least four titles annually.” Continue reading
The Zero Dads Club (2015) written by Angel Adeyoha and illustrated by Aubrey Williams is a delightful Flamingo Press publication that celebrates multiple family forms. The story unfolds around Father’s Day. Two children with dark brown skin sit next to each other at a desk. One, Akilah, complains to the other, her friend Kai, about painting an image of a tie. She is upset because their families do not include fathers. The activist minded Akilah suggests they protest Father’s Day. Instead of a protest, they decide to start a club, which they name the Moms Only Club. They quickly change the name to the Zero Dads Club to account for the club’s growing membership. Some members do not have moms or dads. Continue reading