Sexuality in Literature for Children and Young Adults  book cover
1st Edition

Sexuality in Literature for Children and Young Adults

ISBN 9780367674724
Published June 9, 2021 by Routledge
194 Pages

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Book Description

Expanding outward from previous scholarship on gender, queerness, and heteronormativity in children’s literature, this book offers fresh insights into representations of sex and sexuality in texts for young people. In this collection, new and established scholars examine how fiction and non-fiction writing, picture books, film and television and graphic novels position young people in relation to ideologies around sexuality, sexual identity, and embodiment. This book questions how such texts communicate a sense of what is possible, impossible, taboo, or encouraged in terms of being sexual and sexual being. Each chapter is motivated by a set of important questions: How are representations of sex and sexuality depicted in texts for young people? How do these representations affect and shape the kinds of sexualities offered as models to young readers? And to what extent is sexual diversity acknowledged and represented across different narrative and aesthetic modes? This work brings together a diverse range of conceptual and theoretical approaches that are framed by the idea of sexual becoming: the manner in which texts for young people invite their readers to assess and potentially adopt ways of thinking and being in terms of sex and sexuality.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction - Kristine Moruzi and Paul Venzo

Shaping Sexual Subjectivities 

Chapter 2: ‘Just a little cut’: Censorship and preadolescent sexuality in Philip Pullman’s His dark materials – Auba Llompart Pons  

Chapter 3: That ‘tingly feeling’: Sex and sexuality in children’s nonfiction picture books – Paul Venzo 

Chapter 4: Trans and nonbinary teen voices and memoir: (Non-)traditional mirrors of (non-) traditional lives – Robert Bittner  

Chapter 5: ‘Can gay boys have bromances?’: Regulating masculinity and sexuality in gay young adult literature – Troy Potter  


Rethinking Sexuality and Girlhood  

Chapter 6: Postfeminism and sexuality in the fiction of Sarah J. Maas - Elizabeth Little and Kristine Moruzi 

Chapter 7: Graphic sexualities: Visual negotiations of queer girls’ sexuality and desire in graphic narratives – Lara Hedberg and Rebecca Hutton 

Chapter 8: ‘Are you sure we’re witches and not Puritans?’: Sexual flexibility and unrealised desire in Netflix’s Chilling adventures of Sabrina – Debra Dudek  


The Politics of Sexuality and Desire   

Chapter 9: ‘You two seem to be the same person’: Death, sexuality and female doubles in Chinese young adult fiction and film – Cathy Yue Wang  

Chapter 10: Reading rape culture, drinking, and compulsory heterosexuality in young adult literature – Amber Moore and Elizabeth Marshall

Chapter 11: On the straight and narrow: The homonormalising of Australian queer YA literature in the age of marriage equality – Adam Kealley  

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Paul Venzo is a senior lecturer in the School of Communications and Creative Arts at Deakin University. Paul has published widely on literature for young people, with a particular focus on representations of identity and sexuality. His writing can be found in publications such as the Journal of Homosexuality and the Journal of LGBT Youth, including the recent article ‘Mums, dads and the kids: representations of rainbow families in children’s picture books’ (2020).

Kristine Moruzi is a senior lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University. She published Constructing Girlhood through the Periodical Press, 18501915 in 2012. Her second monograph, From Colonial to Modern: Transnational Girlhood in Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Children’s Literature (1840–1940), with Michelle J Smith and Clare Bradford, was published in 2018.