Eric Jon Nones’ Caleb’s Friend (1993), published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, offers a queerly seductive representation of same-gender desire.
Caleb, a tan-skinned boy of about twelve, is an orphan who works on a boat. One day an icy-blue skinned merboy approaches the ship to return a harmonica Caleb has accidentally dropped into the sea. The human boy and merboy continue to meet, but they exchange objects like shells and flowers instead of kisses. Continue reading
Hello, Sailor, by Ingrid Godon with words by Andre Sollie, was originally published in the Netherlands before being translated into English and published by MacMillan Children’s Books in 2003.
It is a beautiful story about a man named Matt who lives in a lighthouse and works nightly to guide ships safely home with the hope that the sailor he loves and longs for will be on one of the ships. Continue reading
The Prince and Him: a rainbow bedtime story… (2007) is a self-published fairy tale written by Kendal Nite and illustrated by Y. Brassel. The story begins with Prince Edmond’s parents urging him to marry a princess and enter adulthood. The prince’s father lines up local girls for him to kiss and he does, but he is not enticed. His mother gives him money and sends him into the world to find his love. He leaves home and keeps kissing maidens, but doesn’t find his bride. Continue reading
I love the cozy, whimsical, slightly melancholy, illustrations in The Boy Who Grew Flowers (2005), which is cleverly written by Jen Wojtowicz and beautifully illustrated by Steve Adams. The cover depicts a pinkish boy with blushing cheeks, flowers in one hand, green shoes in the other. This is a love story about two children who are equally kind and, as we learn at the book’s end, share one of the same differences, which makes them perfectly normal to each other, and perfect for each other.
Prince and Knight (2018), written by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, immediately reveals its affinity to fairy tales. The title page depicts a typical fairy tale cartography: a castle surrounded by water and the far simpler homes of villagers. This broad overview of every fairy tale landscape, located somewhere far away, quickly shifts to the castle itself, which is lit from the inside against a blue night sky. Unsurprisingly, the text that hovers over the castle reads: “Once upon a time, in a kingdom far from here…”. Continue reading
In Thomas Scotto’s Jerome by Heart words are paired with Olivier Tallec‘s sweet illustrations to tell a story of prepubescent love.
The first person narrative opens with an image of two boys holding hands while riding bikes. Oblivious to the world around them, the boys’ activity literally stops traffic, disrupting the normative flow of the adult world, much to the chagrin of the scowling drivers depicted in unmoving vehicles behind them. The text that accompanies Tallec’s illustration reads: “He always holds my hand./ It’s true./ Really tight.” Continue reading