1st Edition

Sexuality in Literature for Children and Young Adults

Edited By Paul Venzo, Kristine Moruzi Copyright 2021
    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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  


    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.

    "[The book] offers both children's literature scholars and a general audience an insight into the representaion of sexuality in literature for young people and can certainly provide an interesting springboard for further research into the field." - Claudia Söffner, Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature