Date of Award
The Adventures of Softboy Pillowman is my response to the need for proper transgender representation in children’s picture books. I wrote three picture books (and illustrated the first, which is included in the thesis as a separate bound volume) in order to create a compelling, character-driven story that also acts as positive representation for the transgender community. After doing extensive research reading existing picture books, I determined that good transgender representation is often supported by, if not built on, gender nonconformity and the need to dismantle, or at least disregard, the gender binary. As I wrote The Softboy Series, I focused mainly on displaying the benefits of allowing children the freedom to explore their identities without having to follow the strict norms of the gender binary. I aimed for a reasonable balance of having my characters go through visible hardship and overtly celebrating the trans and gender nonconforming aspects of their lives. My efforts resulted in a trilogy that is longer and somewhat more elaborate than I originally intended, but that still remains focused on its goals of benefiting trans youth and contributing to a section of children’s literature that has only recently begun to flourish.
Foote, Felix, "The Adventures of Softboy Pillowman: Exploring Gender Norms and Transgender Messages in Children’s Literature" (2020). Senior Theses. 1532.
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