Are the Kids All Right? by B.J. Epstein is the first survey of English-language children's literature that features lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer characters. It explores how LGBTQ characters are portrayed and what this says about contemporary society and it covers picture books, middle-grade books, and young adult fiction.
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? uses ideas from queer theory and other research to interrogate the ways LGBTQ characters are portrayed in books for children and young people, and to analyse what messages readers of such books might receive. This book brings together literary studies, sociology, queer studies, and other academic fields in an accessible manner, where the research supports the detailed analyses of over fifty books for children and young adults.
In Are the Kids All Right?, Epstein looks at a range of 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, the way that many of these books are marketed and intended as "issue books", 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 150 articles, book reviews, personal essays, and short stories. 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.