WLC Seminar Wednesday 4 August 12-1pm

ALIA Seminar in June 2021

Our August seminar features Rainbow families picture books: representation of LGBTQIA+ adults in children’s picture books, from Lara Hedberg, Paul Venzo and Helen Young

When: Wednesday 4 August from 12.00 noon to 1.00 pm.

Join Zoom Meeting https://deakin.zoom.us/j/87033936402?pwd=eGtMQjUwOUNuRE1rNmtrUnhDYmR6Zz09

Meeting ID: 870 3393 6402 Password: 24721428


Dr Lara Hedberg has a PhD in children’s literature and queer theory and teaches at Deakin University in Children’s Literature and Media and Communications. Her research focuses on queer representation in texts for young people with a specific focus on visual media and online queer youth fan practices.

Dr. Paul Venzo is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Bachelor of Arts in the School of Communications and Creative Arts at Deakin University. An alumnus of the University of Melbourne and Deakin University, Paul is a specialist teacher and researcher in child and young adult literature, with a focus on sexuality and gender. His other research areas include poetry and translation.

Dr Helen Young is a Lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University. She studied at the universities of Sydney and Wollongong, and worked in education and nursing research before joining Deakin. Her research and teaching interests include popular culture and critical theory.


The Rainbow Families Picture Books project grew out of a personal lament about the quality and availability of children’s literature resources featuring LGBTIQA+ families and their children. Our initial phase research indicated that just a small number of such picture books tend to dominate library holdings and online retail spaces. While more contemporary texts may include more diverse and intersectional characters and experiences, in general these remain under-recognised and difficult to access. The second phase of this project involved a survey of rainbow families and their relationship with the picture books that purport to represent them. Overall, the findings suggest that there is a need for comprehensive cataloguing of rainbow families picture book resources, an increase in the range and diversity of texts made available  and critical evaluation of picture books that typically depict families as white, heteronormative and middle-class.