In a very matter-of-fact manner, a children’s book’s character comes out a bisexual.
It’s a startling revelation, yet it came with no fanfare or drama.
“Captain Underpants” is a series of fun books with crazy titles. Most recently, the 12th book of the series came out, entitled Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot.
In the story, the two main characters, George and Harold, get to have a glimpse of themselves in the future. The text reads:
“Old George, his wife and their kids, Meena and Nik, sat on the couch, while Old Harold, his husband, and their twins, Owen and Kei, plopped down on the giant beanbag chair.”
When the book came out this summer, there may have been a few people who thought that there was a typo in the text. But no, creator Dav Pilkey said it was very deliberate and intended to be very subtle.
Harold has had interest in girls in the past, and this was a first revelation that Harold may also be attracted to men, and even ended up in a same gender marriage.
Dav Pilkey has written and illustrated numerous popular, award-winning books for children, including the Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies series; DOG BREATH, winner of the California Young Reader Medal; and THE PAPERBOY, a Caldecott Honor Book.
Young adult fiction has evolved and it has become more “normal” to see characters who are LGBT. Beginning with the book, Heather Has Two Mommies book in 1989, we see more lgbt relationships and families. Some books with such characters recently include Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, Gracefully Grayson, and Fat Angie.
There was a pre-teen book that won the award in the Bisexual Category for the Lambda Literary Awards called Split Screen: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies / Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies. That clever book by Brent Hartinger tells the same stories from two different sides of the book; on one side from the perspective of a young gay man, and when you flip it over and it tells the story from a bisexual girl’s point of view.
Unfortunately, some of these books have been fodder for the right-wing censors who want to ban the normalization of same-sex relationships from children’s reading lists. Some of the Captain Underpants books were banned because of “potty humor” and what some considered “offensive language.”
Now, this subtle revelation may cause it to be banned, but the trend will continue.