Q is for queer. It has been a fashionable word for a while. Some of my students had been using it extensively before I decided to find out what it meant. You know, one day everything is liminal, next day everything is queer, and you have no time to catch up. I have repeatedly stated that for me a theory that is only valid for a limited range of texts is of less interest. If queer theory was only applicable to discuss gender identity I would probably not have delved any deeper into it. Some rigid versions of feminist theory try to replace one dominance by another. Queer theory is inclusive: plurality rather than positive discrimination. A children's book cannot replace adult hegemony by a child one; yet it is possible to address childhood and adulthood as equally valuable. At least in theory.
I published my first article on the subject, titled “Pippi, queer and carnival”, in 2003 in a non-children's literature journal. I then tested it in several talks, including my Grimm Award acceptance speech in 2005. It was finally developed into a book, Power, Voice and Subjectivity in Literature for Young People, where aetonormativity was launched.
Q is also for quest, a popular, not to say omnipresent motif in children's literature.
Ill. Ingrid Vang Nyman