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, 360 Pages


August 2021

£25.00, $40.00

EPUB, 360 Pages


August 2021

£25.00, $40.00

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

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

The visibility of LGBTQ+ children and teenagers in Anglophone popular culture has increased in the last few decades, especially with the rising popularity of openly LGBTQ+ celebrities and films and teen series with major LGBTQ+ characters and the ever-increasing number of English-language LGBTQ+ books for all age groups. Young readers – mostly LGBTQ+ children and teenagers – have used social media and review sites to criticize the enduring predominance of didactic narratives with White, male, cisgender, and middle-class protagonists for failing to reflect the present-day reality and experiences of a significant proportion of the LGBTQ+ community. The chapters vary in focus, length, and style, yet they are coherent and complement one another — International Journal of Young Adult Literature, Mateusz Świetlicki, Assistant Professor at the University of Wrocław’s Institute of English Studies.

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.


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Notes on contributors; Introduction, B. J. Epstein and Elizabeth L. Chapman; Chapter One – BRAZIL Self- Help and Coming Out: LGBTQ+ Themes in Contemporary Brazilian Young Adult Literature, Rosa Maria Hessel Silveira, Luiz Felipe Zago and Daniela Ripoll; Chapter Two – FRANCE We’re Not Here and We’re Not Queer: Bisexual Erasure and Stereotyping in French Young Adult Fiction, Elizabeth L. Chapman; Chapter Three – GERMANY/ AUSTRIA Stuck in the Binary: Heteronormativity and the Binary Conception of Gender in German- Language Trans YA, Katrin Waldhart; Chapter Four – GREENLAND Homo Sapienne: A Mirror of Modern Greenlandic Life, Mette Laustsen; Chapter Five – INDIA Out of the Closet? Exploring the Infoscape of LGBTQ+ Fiction For/ About Youth in India, Bharat Mehra and Chris Barrett; Chapter Six – INDIGENOUS WRITING Un-settling Gender and Sexuality: Indigenous LGBTQ+/ Two- Spirit Literature for Young People, Thaddeus Andracki; Chapter Seven – ITALY LGBTQ Families and Picturebooks: New Perspectives in Italian Children’s Literature, Dalila Forni; Chapter Eight – MULTINATIONAL Heather Has a Donor: 30 Years of International Lesbian- Themed Children’s Picture Books about Donor Insemination, 1989– 2019, Patricia Sarles; Chapter Nine – MULTINATIONAL Morals, Society and Distribution: LGBTQ+ Literature for Young Readers in the Arab World, Anonymous; Chapter Ten – MULTINATIONAL Sameness and Diff erence in Visual Representations of Same-Sex Couples in International Children’s Picture Books, Jamie Campbell Naidoo and Mercedes Zabawa; Chapter Eleven – THE PHILIPPINES Of Fabulous Flowers and Powers: Queer Narratives of/ for the Filipino Child in Philippine Contemporary Children’s Literature, Cheeno Marlo M. Sayuno; Chapter Twelve – SLOVENIA Between Literature, Ideology and Pedagogy: LGBTQ+ Fiction for Children and Young Adults in Slovenia, Andrej Zavrl; Chapter Thirteen – SOUTH KOREA Boys Who Wear Dresses: Queer Narrative Strategies in Korean Children’s Literature, Anton Hur; Chapter Fourteen – SPAIN Stories out of the Closet: LGBTQ+ Children’s Picturebooks in Spain, Bernat Cormand; Chapter Fifteen – SWEDEN ‘I’m Sure This Whole Boy Thing is Just a Phase’: Transgender Narratives in Contemporary Swedish Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Åsa Warnqvist; Chapter Sixteen – SWEDEN Becoming Versus Being: Nature, Nurture and Stereotypes in Swedish LGB Young Adult Novels, B. J. Epstein; List of Primary Texts; Index.


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