If you have been to the Archives, then you know that there are all sorts of unexpected and incredible things tucked away in every corner. After going through the Archives myself, I was caught off-guard by the small (but impressive) collection of LGBTQ2+ children’s books.
You might be asking yourself “why is a [small] collection of LGBTQ2+ themed children’s books, impressive?” Well, so much of what we talk about when we think of LGBTQ2+ history is entangled in the triumphs (and struggles) of LGBTQ2+ adults. When children appear as central figures in gay and trans issues, they predominantly exist in tandem within the context of LGBTQ2+ families. Their narratives as LGBTQ2+ figures are almost entirely erased. Thanks to the efforts of LGBTQ2+ adults seeking representation, these books can exist and allow the figure of LGBTQ2+ children to exist, without diminishing or erasing their identities all together.
One of the most remarkable things about these books is located in the diversity of the material. This collection of literature goes back as far as 1979, with a book called “Oliver Button is a Sissy” written by Tomie dePaola, the creator of PBS kids’ classics such as Barney and Friends and the critically acclaimed picture book, Strega Nona.
This literature also gives LGBTQ2+ children who pick up these books the chance to see their families represented and sometimes see themselves as they get older in stories that they love. They also prompt children to challenge what they know and gain new knowledge about sexual and gender diversity.
The books featured are available at 34 Isabella Street. If you would like to find out more about the CLGA’s collection of children’s books, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Shayla Sabada, CLGA Intern