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Pop-up exhibit: Queer Joy for All Ages: LGBTQ+ Representation in Picture Books

This one-day, pop-up exhibit tracks the progression of queer representation in picture books.

This event has already occurred

June 28, 2023, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Lee Lounge, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, First Floor (near Bestsellers display)
Open to the Public
Books from the Penn Libraries' DEIA collection for young adults. Visible title include Skating Over Thin Ice, Where I Belong, A Case for Butty, and Finding Junie Kim.

Starting from simply including queer-coded characters or characters that are different in some way from the norm, usually using animals as the main characters to portray these differences in more subtle ways, picture books later move toward a more didactic representation of queer characters, with sexuality or gender differences being framed as potentially problematic to some other characters and the resolution that these varying types of gender and sexuality expression are good.

Other picture books, mainly more recent ones, have started to return to the themes of queer joy represented in the older, less obviously queer picture books of the past except with human characters and recognizably LGBTQ+ characters, including less moralistic storylines that give young readers and parents opportunities to see themselves represented without their identities being potentially problematized.