Are the Kids All Right? (Book)

Representations of Lgbtq Characters in Children's and Young Adult Literature

Covering picture books, middle-grade books and Young adult fiction, this was the first survey of English-language children’s literature that features lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer characters. It explores how LGBTQ characters are portrayed and what this says about contemporary society. Annotated bibliography.

Category: Cultural Studies

Edition

Epstein explores why sex, sexuality and gender non-conformity is something that many writers and publishers of children's and young adult lit appear to shy away from. She demonstrates that the information children get from literature matters, and that so called 'difficult' topics can be communicated in entertaining and informative ways.

 

Uses ideas from queer theory and other research to interrogate the ways LGBTQ characters are portrayed in books for children and young people, and to analyse what messages readers of such books might receive.

 

Includes detailed analysis of over sixty picture books, middle grade books and young adults novels by authors such as Nancy Garden, Julie Ann Peters, Alex Sanchez, David Levithan, Lesléa Newman, Marcus Ewart, Cris Beam and many others.

 

This book brings together literary studies, sociology, queer studies, and other academic fields in an accessible manner, where the research supports the detailed analyses of over fifty books for children and young adults. Epstein looks at a range of topics, such as the lack of diversity in many of these works, how same-sex marriage is portrayed, the relative absence of bisexual and transgender characters, the way that many of these books are marketed and intended as "issue books", and more.

A practical and informative book to inspire writers and publishers to produce better LGBTQ literature for young readers.

 

Reviews

 

‘What world is created by the LGBT/queer stories found in current children’s literature, and what world would we like to create going forward?  With this book, B.J. Epstein shares a vivid map of the present, and a bold atlas for the future.’

Marcus Ewart, author of 10,000 Dresses

 

‘B.J. eloquently explores all aspects of our journey to inclusivity. Inclusive literature is key to eradicating discrimination, reflecting the real lives and families of our young readers.’

Elly Barnes, in Schools Out

‘Literature representing LGBTQ experiences will be part of any inclusive school curriculum. Of course. Epstein takes that crucial next step, though, and establishes some criteria for selecting and using these books. She weaves her own opinions in with those of other experts, comments from authors, and the voices of the characters themselves. From picture books to young adult literature, she helps us understand the value of these works, but also reveals some of the unintended messages teachers might want to avoid or compensate for. This book will be a good place to start for anyone new to LGBTQ children’s literature or food for thought for the experienced practitioner.’ 

 Renée DePalma Ungaro

 

Introduction

Motivation

A Brief Discussion of Sexuality and Gender

Terminology

Children’s Literature

Sexuality, Children and Children’s Literature

Corpus of Texts

Methodologies

Structure of This Book

Conclusion

 

Issue Books

Publishing and Practical Considerations

Paratexts

Confirmation of Normality

HIV and AIDS

Teaching Through Characters

Controversy

Conclusion

 

Portrayal and Stereotypes

Prejudice and Stereotypes

A Brief History of Stereotypes in LGBTQ

Literature

Queerness as a Problem

Causes of Queerness

Looking Queer

Acting Queer

Sex and Marriage

The Gay Boyfriend

Positive Stereotypes and Challenging

Stereotypes

Reducing Prejudice and Literature’s Role

Conclusion

 

Diversity

Missing Pieces

Bisexuality

Transgender

Other Shades of the Rainbow

Multiple Identities

Race/Ethnicity

Religion and Spirituality

Dis/Ability

Age

Class

Weight/Size and Body Image

Conclusion

 

Sex and Marriage

Masturbation

Protection

Sex

BTQ Sex

Summary of Sex

Marriage

Background on LGBTQ Parenting

Background on LGBTQ Marriage

U.S. Books

U.K. Books

Northern European Books

Summary of Marriage

Singletons

Conclusion

 

Conclusion

A Brief Summary

A Call to Arms (or Pens): Not a Conclusion,

But a Proposal

 

Notes

References

Annotated Bibliography

Index

‘Literature representing LGBTQ experiences will be part of any inclusive school curriculum. Of course. Epstein takes that crucial next step, though, and establishes some criteria for selecting and using these books. She weaves her own opinions in with those of other experts, comments from authors, and the voices of the characters themselves. From picture books to young adult literature, she helps us understand the value of these works, but also reveals some of the unintended messages teachers might want to avoid or compensate for. This book will be a good place to start for anyone new to LGBTQ children’s literature or food for thought for the experienced practitioner.’ 

Renée DePalma Ungaro
Related Titles