Lesbian parents’ perceptions of children’s picture books featuring same-sex parented families

Kathy Cloughessy*, Manjula Waniganayake

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Children’s picture books featuring same-sex parented families have been suggested as a powerful resource in leading change in the struggle against heteronormativity in early childhood education. At present, little is known about lesbian parents’ perceptions of how picture books in their homes and in early childhood settings can influence children’s understandings about families. This study captured the voices of eleven lesbian parents as part of a larger project on their experiences with early childhood settings in Australia. Analysis of the interviews identified four key themes: silence, timing, struggle and limits. This discussion shows that whilst these books have some value in honouring diversity, more care is needed in considering their limitations. Queer Theory informed this study and offers important insights for educators to consider when making pedagogical decisions in resisting heteronormativity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-131
    Number of pages14
    JournalEarly Years
    Issue number2
    Early online date18 Jun 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


    • early childhood education
    • heteronormativity
    • lesbian parents
    • picture books
    • queer theory


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