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LGBTQ opinions wanted : Bio section of in book about young Oscar Wilde

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I’m  hoping to get some feedback for my historical middle-grade kids book featuring an 8-year-old Oscar Wilde and his siblings .

I’m doing my best to portray the  LGBTQ characters in the book, including Oscar and his 5 1/2 year old sister Isola, in an age appropriate way that celebrates and honestly honors them. 

The problem is I’m worried about how much info to include in the index/biography section at the back of my book. Not sure what is appropriate/ how much to include about grown-up Oscar’s horrible trial and jail sentence. Or if I should include it at all.

I’ve looked at the biographies about him in middle-grade editions of The Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde and The Canterville Ghost. They mention his work, his celebrity and wit, but don’t go any further than that.

I’d love to hear thoughts from other middle-grade authors, especially those in the LGBTQ community as to your thoughts on this. Would I be doing a disservice to the LGBTQ community if I ignore the tough parts? It’s important to highlight injustices of the past, but being middle grade there is a fine line on what to reveal.

And if anyone has books to recommend that have treated LGBTQ issues openly for the middle grade age range, I’d love to hear about them.

This is my first novel and that is hard enough already.  I appreciate the help.


#1 - June 27, 2019, 01:02 AM

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Hi Lyneeta,

You might want to look up Pride Month reading lists for middle grade readers. There are a bunch out this month. You may even look at picture books to see how hard topics are handled there.

To me, an author's note should relate in some way to the text that was included. It could state more info on a topic or provide resources. I'm not sure if that helps you at all though. I don't qualify as a sensitivity reader on this topic. Good luck in your search.
#2 - June 27, 2019, 06:27 PM
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Your book and topic sound great! I would probably say something in the end matter like,

"Oscar grew up to do [these noted things]. Sadly, because he was gay [or however you want to phrase this; I don't know enough about the trial] in a time and place where it was considered illegal, he was put on trial and sentenced to jail."

You can refer the reader to another source for more info OR bc there may not be an appropriate one for the age group, you can write your own more extensive end matter. I would write it honestly.

I also don't think an editor or agent will reject a novel based on the back matter, so a publishing pro may be able to help you refine it once it is accepted.

Good luck!
#3 - June 28, 2019, 04:45 AM
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I’m having a little trouble replying with the iPad interface. But thanks to you both. Good advice. The LGBTQ reading list for middle-grade is perfect. Going to look at that now. Thanks
#4 - July 01, 2019, 02:27 AM


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