Available from HammerOn October 2013
Are the Kids All Right? by B.J. Epstein is the first survey of English-language children's literature that feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer characters. It explores how LGBTQ characters are portrayed and what this says about contemporary society. The author covers picture books, middle-grade books, young adult fiction and includes an annotated bibliography.
Epstein explores why sex, sexuality and gender non-conformity is something that many writers and publishers of children's and young adult lit appear to shy away from. She passionately demonstrates that the information children get from literature matters, and that so called 'difficult' topics can be communicated in entertaining and informative ways.
Are the Kids All Right? brings together literary studies, sociology, queer studies, and other academic fields in an accessible manner. The research supports detailed analyses of over sixty books for children and young adults by authors such as Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Julie Ann Peters, Cris Beam, Alex Sanchez, Lesléa Newman, Nancy Garden and many others.
It ranges over topics such as the lack of diversity in many of these works, how same-sex marriage is portrayed, the relative absence of bisexual and transgender characters, how coming out is show as stressful, and more.
Are the Kids All Right? is a practical and informative book that will inspire writers and publishers to produce better LGBTQ literature for young readers.
About the author:
B.J. Epstein is the author of over 160 articles, book reviews, personal essays, and short stories. She has previously published Translating Expressive Language in Children's Literature and Ready, Set, Teach! Ready-Made Creative Classes for the English Classroom and also was the editor for Northern Lights: Translation in the Nordic Countries. She is lecturer in Literature and Public Engagement at the University of East Anglia, and she is also a translator from the Scandinavian languages to English. More information about her can be found here.
Back cover recommendations:
"As the great poet Muriel Rukeyser reminds us, the world is made of stories, not atoms. What world is created by the LGBT/queer stories found in current children's literature, and what world would we like to create going forward? With this book, Dr B.J. Epstein shares a vivid map of the present, and a bold atlas for the future." ~Marcus Ewert, author of 10,000 Dresses
"B.J eloquently explores all aspects of our journey to inclusivity. Our job as educators is to 'usualise' LGBTQ people, to make visible throughout the education system, ensuring we positively and factually represent all diversities as being just like everyone else! Inclusive literature is key to eradicating discrimination, reflecting the real lives and families of our young readers." ~Elly Barnes, Schools Out
"Passionate, incisive, comprehensive - B.J. Epstein knows her subject inside OUT. She's an inspirational speaker and teacher and her book will enable and inspire academics and writers across the world to explore and create fresh, original fiction, with real and diverse LGBTQ characters, for children and young people." ~Michelle Savage, Filmmaker and Communications Officer, Norwich Pride
Cover design by Eva Megias