International LGBTQ+ Literature for Children and Young Adults

International LGBTQ+ Literature for Children and Young Adults

Edited by B.J. Epstein & Elizabeth Chapman

This edited collection investigates LGBTQ+ literature for young readers around the world, including picture books, middle-grade books and young adult novels. It brings together contributions from across the academic and activist spectra to explore what is at stake when we write (or do not write) about LGBTQ+ topics for young readers.

PDF, 250 Pages


August 2021

£25.00, $40.00

EPUB, 250 Pages


August 2021

£25.00, $40.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links

About This Book

What does ‘queer’ have to do with children and young people and, in particular, with literature for them? How are sexualities and gender identities depicted in writing and illustration for younger readers in a variety of languages and cultures? How are queer families and the construction of queer families portrayed? How is this depiction influenced by the way the culture in question views queer identities? What is the connection between LGBTQ+ rights and literature for children and young adults?

These are some of the questions addressed in this edited collection. While English-language LGBTQ+ literature for young readers has been and continues to be explored in some depth in academia, this is the first book to compare LGBTQ+ children’s literature from around the world and to connect the literature to greater societal, political, linguistic, historical and cultural concerns. The aim of this book, then, is to explore LGBTQ+ literature for young readers around the world, particularly beyond the English-speaking countries/cultures.

This collection brings together contributions from across the academic and activist spectra, looking at picture books, middle-grade books and young adult novels. The foci of individual chapters include the representation of sexualities and gender identities, depictions of queer families, censorship, translation of LGBTQ+ literature for young readers, and self-publishing. Ultimately, the book considers what is at stake when we write (or do not write) about LGBTQ+ topics for young readers.


‘This new collection brings together much needed scholarship on children’s and YA fiction featuring LGBTQ+ people and themes in languages other than English. Edited by preeminent researchers in the field, this is important reading for anyone interested in this growing – and increasingly diverse – genre of children’s literature.’ — Mark McGlashan, Birmingham City University, UK

International LGBTQ+ Literature for Children and Young Adults is a testament both to the role of social change in expanding representations of diversity in children’s literature, and yet how far there is to go in terms of creating a world in which diversity is imaginable and indeed liveable for all.’ — Damien W. Riggs, Flinders University, Australia

‘This fascinating snapshot of international LGBTQ+ material for young people makes for a timely contribution to comparative queer children’s literature studies and to our broader understanding of childhood in cultural context. A groundbreaking volume and indispensable resource.’ — Kenneth Kidd, University of Florida, US

‘Bravely crossing linguistic and political boundaries, and splendidly unorthodox in their approach, Epstein and Chapman offer a ground-breaking collection of essays on international LGBTQ+ literature for young people, with a much-needed emphasis on non-English language texts. With contributions by academics, librarians, authors, and activists, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the power of children’s literature to reflect the complexities of and possibilities for young people’s lives.’ — Paulette Rothbauer, Western University, Canada

‘International LGBTQ+ Literature for Children and Young Adults is a wide-ranging collection critically analysing LGBTQ+ literature for young people in diverse contexts. Epstein and Chapman have assembled an impressive list of chapters which open up possibilities for deeper and broader thinking about LGBTQ+ literature for young people beyond English-language texts.’ — Clare Bartholomaeus, Flinders University, Australia

‘Aiming to map global representations of LGBTQ+, from picture books to YAF, this volume witnesses how tricky it is to navigate queerness, in fiction, activism, and academia. Eye-opening at times, highly provocative at others, in suggested readings and theoretical scope, the value of this study resides in its activist take on queer children’s literature.’ — Mia Österlund, Åbo Akademi University and Helsinki University, Finland

Author Information

B.J. Epstein is a senior lecturer in literature and public engagement at the University of East Anglia. She is also a writer, editor, and Swedish-to-English translator.

Elizabeth L. Chapman teaches education studies at Sheffield Hallam University and works for Sheffield libraries and as a freelance translator. Her research interests focus on LGBTQ+ fiction for children and young people.


No series for this title.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; List of Figures and Illustrations; Introduction; Brazil, Self-Help and Coming Out: LGBTQ+ Themes in Contemporary Brazilian Young Adult Literature; France, We’re Not Here and We’re Not Queer: Bisexual Erasure and Stereotyping in French Young Adult Fiction; Germany, Stuck in the Binary: Heteronormativity and the Binary Conception of Gender in German-Language Trans YA; Greenland, Homo Sapienne: A Mirror of Modern Greenlandic Life; India, Out of the Closet? Exploring the Infoscape of LGBTQ+ Fiction for/About Youth in India; Indigenous Writing, Un-settling Gender and Sexuality: Indigenous LGBTQ+/Two-Spirit Literature for Young People; Italy, LGBTQ Families and Picture Books: New Perspectives in Italian Children’s Literature; Multinational, Heather Has a Donor: 30 Years of International Lesbian-Themed Children’s Books about Donor Insemination, 1989–2019; Multinational, Morals, Society and Distribution: LGBTQ+ Literature for Young Readers in the Arab World;Multinational, Sameness and Difference in Visual Representation of Same-Sex Couples in International Children’s Picture Books; The Philippines, of Fabulous Flowers and Powers: Queer Narratives of/for the Filipino Child in Philippine Contemporary Children’s Literature; Slovenia, Between Literature, Ideology and Pedagogy: LGBTQ+ Fiction for Children and Young Adults in Slovenia; South Korea, Boys Who Wear Dresses: Queer Narrative Strategies in Korean Children’s Literature; Spain, Stories out of the Closet: LGBTQ+ Children’s Picturebooks in Spain; Sweden, ‘I’m Sure This Whole Boy Thing Is Just a Phase’: Transgender Narratives in Contemporary Swedish Children’s and Young Adult Literature; Sweden, Becoming Versus Being: Nature, Nurture and Stereotypes in Swedish LGB Young Adult Novels; List of Primary Texts; Index.


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