Department or Program



Children’s picture books function as socializers with both stated and subtextual messages (Aronson et al 2017, Capuzza 2019, Kern 2020, Sciurba 2017). Inclusive picture books contain messages that can affirm marginalized identities and broaden normative worldviews (Capuzza 2019, Epstein 2012, Mokrzycki 2020). However, there are often harmful norms and stereotypes even in inclusive literature (Capuzza 2019, Epstein 2019, DePalma 2014). This study analyzes the interplay of inclusive and normative messages within the context of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ) picture books. I compiled a dataset that represents a near-census of all narrative picture books containing at least one LGBTQ character published between 2010 and 2020. I aim to answer the questions of what LGBTQ narrative picture books are available and what messages they contain. I found 260 picture books, which were almost evenly split between gender and sexuality books. Over half the books in my near-census use the LGBTQ identity as the conflict of the story and the majority were set in the real world. Moreover, I find both normative narratives and stories that suggest a more inclusive direction within my sample. I consider my findings in relation to previous literature on inclusive pictures books in general, and the limited existing literature on LGBTQ picture books in particular.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Kane, Emily

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.