In the “New York Times” on Sunday, June 7, 2015, Alexandra Alter’s article “Transgender Children’s Books Breaking a Taboo” explored this topic. Children’s and young adult books have covered almost every subject facing society in today’s world. Books for young people on rape, drug abuse, sex trafficking, etc. have been available for a long time. Books on being transgender are, according to Alter, the last taboo in the children’s publishing world. Recently, several new books have been published which address the issue. Many have been well received.
Probably the first book on being transgender that was issued by a major publisher was “Luna,” which was released in 2004. It was the story of a teenage girl whose brother wants to be a girl. Since then more than 50 novels with transgender characters have been published, most for young adult readers.
In November, 2014, Disney Hyperion published “Gracefully Grayson,” which was aimed at the 8-to-12 year old audience. This novel is about a sixth-grade boy who feels like a girl. This book marked the opening on a new audience for transgender literature.
In August, Scholastic will join the growing list of publishers marketing transgender books to the middle-grade group. “George” is the story of a book who knows he is a girl but doesn’t know how to tell his family and friends. The publisher stated that it initially faced resistance from teachers and librarians, who weren’t sure that third and fourth graders were ready for this discussion. After receiving positive feedback, Scholastic decided to increase its first printing to 50,000 copies.
Other publishers and authors, as well, will be closing monitoring the acceptance of books like “George.” It does, however, seem that there will be more books to help, in the words of two transgender authors, “fill the void that they felt as young readers.”
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Another recently released picture book title is “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel. The author was named one of Time magazine’s Top 25 most influential teens of 2014 for speaking up for transgender children.- pam Simboli