F146. Beyond Skirts and Pants: Considering Gender in Children's Picture Books

Meeting Room 1, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
10:30 am to 11:45 am


Gender-related messages are both overt and hidden in picture books, often the first—and thus, especially impactful—literature shared with youngsters. As writers, how might we discern and work against problematic messages? What gaps and challenges are especially salient as we head deeper into the 21st century? Five children's authors discuss what gender equality means in terms of authors, illustrators, child protagonists, featured parents, humor, gender markers, and the publishing industry.


Mary Quattlebaum is the author of twenty-five children's books, including picture books, novels, nonfiction, and poetry. She teaches in the MFA program in writing for children and young adults in the Vermont College of Fine Arts and frequently presents at schools.

J. Albert Mann is the author of five published middle grade and young adult novels. Her stories and poetry have appeared in Highlights for Children. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, where she also earned a Picture Book Intensive certificate.

Cate Berry is an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut picture book is slated for publication. Ms. Berry's work combines humor and playfulness with subversive themes and situations. She is interested in challenging gender stereotypes within picture book animals and characters.

Leah Henderson is a writer, mentor, and avid traveler. When she is not scribbling down her characters’ adventures, she is off on her own, exploring spaces and places around the world. She is the author of the middle grade novel, One Shadow on the Wall and received her MFA from Spalding University.

Jonah Heller is a graduate of the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He works as an assistant editor for a children's trade book publisher.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside