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As debate rages about what it means to be a boy or girl, children's authors are tackling gender norms like never before -- from a transgender teddy bear to a fearless girl pirate. Visitors at this week's Frankfurt book fair, the world's largest publishing event, will be faced with a string of books for young readers that defy stereotypes and navigate today's hot-button issues of transsexuality and gender fluidity.Stories with transgender lead characters in particular have broken one of the last "taboos" left in children's writing, said Swiss-born literary expert and author Nicola Bardola. In writing the book – which Bardola called "a phenomenon" – Australian author Jessica Walton was inspired by her own father's transition to a woman.Children's book expert Bardola said the trailblazing tales had triggered much earnest hand-wringing from critics wondering whether it was "appropriate" or "dangerous" to introduce young readers to such complex themes.
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