On June 8th, twitter user Lindz Amer (@lindzamer) made a tweet calling out people who are “flipping out” over drag queens. And if you’re like me and don’t really use Twitter, you’re missing out on this incredible compilation of popular and iconic children’s books written by authors who were members of the LGBTQIA+. So, here’s ten books from that thread that showcase them.
Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad
Arnold Lobel, the author of the Frog and Toad came out to his family members in the mid-70s as gay. Lobel’s daughter, Adrianne, has been quoted that the Frog and Toad series was most likely the “awakening” of Lobel’s coming out. He has been known to include personal matters in his stories.
Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak had a male partner of over 50 years, psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Glynn. His first hints of a gay identity were reported to be in Outside Over There. But Sendak did not come out until a 2008 interview.
Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown was described as an “iconic” chaotic bisexual. Lindz Amer says that Brown’s life inspires them to write a biopic screenplay about the author for ages. And honestly, I’d watch it.
James Marshall, George and Martha
James Marshall was queer and passed away of AIDS.
Tomie dePaola, Strega Nona
Personally, I loved this book growing up. But before I go off on a rant, Tomie dePaola was gay and didn’t come out until later in life. In an interview with New York Times Magazine, he said “If it became known you were gay, you’d have a big red ‘G’ on your chest and school’s wouldn’t buy your book anymore.” Sound familiar? If you’d like to read the obituary mentioned in Lindz thread, you can go here.
Hans Christian Andersen, The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairytales
Lindz says that folks were pretty sure Andersen was bi. In this complete set of fairytales, The Little Mermaid is described as a “metaphor of unrequited gay love.” The story (and movie) is based off a letter Andersen wrote to Edvard Collin where he wrote, “I languish for you as for a pretty Calabrian wench…my sentiments for you are those of a woman…” You can read more about it here.
Oscar Wilde, The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
Okay, Oscar Wilde may be a little more well-known but his fairy-tales are not. Lindz exclaims, “We have plenty of Cinderella and Little Mermaid retellings, let’s dig into these ones now!” And honestly, I couldn’t agree more.
Louise Fitzhugh, Harriett the Spy
Pre-Stonewall, Fitzhugh was out and proud. And in honor of that, she purposely made a gender non-conforming character for young queer readers who may have felt a little different. And we LOVE IT!
Ann M. Martin, The Babysitters Club
Ann M. Martin went to Smith, which 87 percent of all queer writers have as well. She also had a tendency to just walk around and tell people about her gayness (as in social circles and other authors). And quoting Lindz, Martin fostered “hundreds of cats” and is a flaming homosexual. Incredible.
Louisa May Allcott, Little Women
Louisa. May. Alcott. Was. Trans. Yes, you read that right. She preferred to go by Lou and was even described as being born with a “boy’s spirit”. She had no care for women’s or girls things and grew up loving to vicariously participate in the adventures and discoveries of boyhood. But, with her book Little Women she taught many young girls how to be woman. You can read more here.
If you would like to discover more novels by authors who were unknown members of the LGBTQIA+, you can go to Lindz thread here.