June 8, 2015

New children’s books by, for, and about transgender kids

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rethinking-normal-9781481418232_hrThe New York Times reports that children’s books are starting to catch up to broader cultural shifts by addressing gender fluidity, which, until recently, had “remained one of the last taboos in a publishing category that had already taken on difficult issues like suicide, drug abuse, rape, and sex trafficking.”

In 2004, Julie Anne Peters’s book Luna was the first YA novel with a transgender character to be released by a major publisher (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). Since then, according to librarian Talya Sokoll, more than 50 novels with transgender characters have been published for children and teenagers. Last September, Simon & Schuster published the memoirs–Rethinking Normal and Some Assembly Required–of two transgender teenagers from Oklahoma; in November Disney Hyperion published Gracefull Grayson, a novel about a sixth grade boy who feels like a girl; and in August, Scholastic will release George, “a middle-grade debut novel about a boy who knows he is a girl but doesn’t know how to tell his family and friends.”

Earlier this year, indie publisher Interlude Press–“a boutique publisher of LGBTQ romantic fiction”–announced the launch of a new imprint, Duet, that will focus on LGBTQ books for young readers.

The imprint’s debut publication, The Rules of Ever After by Killian B. Brewer, comes out later this week. Brewer said in an interview, “In writing The Rules of Ever After, I wanted to create the kind of book I would have liked to read when I was younger, but those kinds of books just didn’t exist in that time. LGBTQ characters didn’t get the fairy tale, so Rules is a fairy tale for people who have been left out of fairy tales until now.”

 

Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.

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