Children's literature

A guide to children's literature including resources at the State Library and elsewhere

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LGBTI) Books

Publication of LGBTI books for young adults began in the 1970s and according to researcher L. Anne Clyde (2004) picture books appeared in the 1980s

To find LGBTI children's books held by the Library, search our catalogue combining one of the phrases:

children's literature, children's fiction or juvenile fiction

with any of the following terms or phrases:

bisexual, homosexuality, intersex, lesbian, transgender, transsexual, queer, gender identity, or  sex change then click Search.

It is important to try a number of these terms to capture keywords in the notes about a book plus authorised subject headings used when books are catalogued

Some examples include:

A recent picture book 10,000 dresses (2008) by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by Rex Ray

An early text for young readers translated from the Danish is Jenny lives with Eric and Martin (1983) by Susanne Bosche

Crossing lines (2011) by Paul Volponi is a book for older readers

Australian LGBTI children's literature

Australian children's books

Bedtime for Baby Teddy (2002) by Tamara Arc-Decker, illustrated by Jenni Boettcher is a picture book about children of gay parents

Me mum's a queer (1994) by Catherine Johns is a book for younger readers about lesbian mothers

F2M: the boy within (2010) by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy is transgender young adult fiction

Fables queer and familiar (2014) by Margaret Merrilees, illustrated by Chia Moan is humorous and affectionate crossover fiction about the lives of two lesbian grandmothers

Literary criticism eresources and databases

'A review of gay and lesbian themed early childhood children's literature' (2010) by J. Sapp, in Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 35(1), pp. 32-40

'Fiction for adolescent and young adult readers from Longacre Press, New Zealand' (2001) by Nixon and Comber, in Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 44(4), pp. 292-400 surveys Australian students responses to young adult literature, including Dare, truth or promise

'The invisibility of lesbian mother families in the South Australian Premier's Reading Challenge' (2014) by Riggs and Hanson-Easey, in Bookbird, vol. 52(1), pp. 23-33

Gender dilemmas in children's fiction (2009) examines diverse genders and sexualities in contemporary fictions for young people by Australian academic Professor Kerry Mallan

Literary criticism print resources

Out of the closet and into the classroom: homosexuality in books for young people (1996) gives an historical perspective on the depiction of homosexuality in children's literature

Five bells: being LGBT in Australia (2016) by Jenny Papalexandris is a photojournal of gender identity

Overseas LGBTI children's literature

Overseas children's books

The miseducation of Cameron Post (2012) by Emily M. Danforth

Carly: she's still my daddy (2004) by Mary Boenke, illustrated by Dolores Dudley

Freakboy (2013) by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

Roving pack (2012) by Sassafras Lowrey

Literary criticism eresources and databases

Libraries and LGBTIQ venues' (2013) by S. Day, in Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, vol. 9(1), pp. 46-50

'The heart has its reasons: young adult literature with gay/lesbian/queer content, 1969-2004' (2006) by B. Talbot, in Children's Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 31(4), pp. 390-392

'Controversial books in the public library: a comparative survey of gay-related children's picture books' (2000) by A. Spence, in The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, vol. 70(3), pp. 335-379

'Neither very Bi nor particularly sexual: the essence of the bisexual in young adult literature' (2015) by B. Kneen, in Children's Literature in Education, vol. 46(4), pp. 359-377

'From Alice to Alana: sexualities and children's cultures in the twenty first century' (2012) by Weldy and Crisp, in Children's Literature Association quarterly, vol. 37(4), pp. 367-373

'LGBT YA on the rise' (2014) by C. Eyre in The Bookseller, no. 5610, p. 12

'We want diverse books: as demand for children's and young adult stories with LGBT characters increases, literary agents look for manuscripts that represent every color of the reading rainbow' (2016) by J. Masis, in Writer's Digest, vol. 96(2), p. 12

'When reading a kids' book is 'psycho-emotional rape' (2015) by S. Allen, in The Daily Beast, New York

'Analyzing talk in a long- term literature discussion group: ways of operating within LGBT- inclusive and queer discourses' (2011) by Blackburn and Clark, in Reading Research Quarterly, vol. 46(3), p. 222+

'Missing mirrors, missing windows: children's literature textbooks and LGBT topics' (2011) by Smolkin and Young, in Language Arts, vol. 88(3), pp. 217-225

Gender dilemmas in children's fiction (2009) Kerry Mallan looks at the changing role of gender and sexual identity in children's literature

Print resources

Shakespeare's queer children: sexual politics and contemporary culture (1995) Chedgzoy argues that reinterpretations of Shakespeare's works have their own aesthetic, social and erotic designs

Over the rainbow: queer children's and young adult literature (2011) edited by Abate and Kidd., this series of articles cover historical texts, works published after 1969 and the beginning of the gay civil rights movement, and contemporary reader response to LGBTI texts

LGBT youth issues today: a reference handbook (2014) by David Newton


The Lambda Literary awards identify and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books published worldwide and make annual awards for the best in a number of genres including young adult, graphic novels and science fiction.

The 2016 winner of the young adult category is George by Alex Gino