Picture Books with Same-sex Parented Families: Unintentional Censorship

By Ann Hardie.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The absence of teaching resources in schools for children to learn about or recognise diverse family structures is an issue of social justice. A discriminatory learning environment can be created and perpetuated where children’s picture books portraying sexually diverse family identities are not included in the classroom programme. The research question underpinning this pilot study was: What picture books inclusive of sexually diverse family situations are available in school and other libraries? This quantitative study investigated the availability in school libraries of a selection of picture books that portrayed diverse family situations including same-sex parented families. Results indicate that libraries have few or no titles of this genre. Implications for teaching and learning are that there may not be a representative range of books read in classrooms providing opportunities to affirm children’s identity and develop understandings of sexually diverse families. Where picture books portraying heterosexual family situations are over represented, the curriculum is potentially constrained and reduced as unintentional censorship results when teachers select from those available resources. Although the New Zealand Curriculum mandates a broad set of principles that recognise and affirm children’s identities within a non-discriminatory curriculum, resources that potentially open learning conversations are overlooked.

Keywords: Social Justice, Teaching, Same-sex Parenting

International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp.45-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 218.015KB).

Ann Hardie

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

I began teaching in primary schools and moved to tertiary teaching when I taught in a Māori tertiary institution in the area of initial teacher education. I am now a teacher educator working at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ. My research interests include educational issues around sexuality and diversity, and online teaching.