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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Fractured Life of Becca Crease, a novel : exploring a teenager’s relationship with a non-binary parent, family resilience, and language in the middle grade novel, The Fractured Life of Becca Crease, an exegesis Miettunen, Anita


Children and teens can—and often do—look for representation of their lives in children’s literature. An emerging area in children’s fiction is the inclusion of transgender and non-binary characters. However, these fictional characters are usually teens, although increasingly, children are being included. There are few works that include transgender and non-binary parents, even though they are part of our society, leading to a gap in children’s literature. Notably, Happy Families, the earliest mainstream children’s novel with a transgender parent, was only published in 2012. In this exegesis, I explore the research strategies and creative process involved in developing my children’s middle grade novel, The Fractured Life of Becca Crease, which features a key relationship between a teenaged protagonist and her non-binary parent. I discuss how transgender and non-binary parents are portrayed in published English language children’s literature and materials in North America. Additionally, I explain how my process of writing a contemporary novel was informed by understanding how children and teens may experience a parent’s gender transition, particularly within a family resiliency framework, and how mainstream society’s awareness of gender identity and associated language is rapidly shifting. While there are currently very few stories portraying families with transgender or non-binary parents, highlighting this gap may bring awareness to writers and publishers concerned with improving diversity in children’s publishing.

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