She has written and edited 70 books and anthologies. She has written about such topics as being a Jew, body image and eating disorders, lesbianism, lesbian and gay parenting, and her gender role as a femme. Her best-known work is the controversial Heather Has Two Mommies. In 1990, many gay and lesbian couples and their children found the first reflections of their families in this picture book. She was later the subject of another similar controversy in 1997, when her book Belinda's Bouquet was banned by School District 36 Surrey in Surrey, British Columbia, alongside Johnny Valentine's One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads and Rosamund Elwin and Michele Paulse's Asha's Mums. That ban was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in its 2002 decision Chamberlain v Surrey School District No 36.
She also authored The Boy Who Cried Fabulous in 2004.
Her literary awards include Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, the James Baldwin award for Cultural Achievement, the Dog Writers Association of America's Best Book of Fiction Award, and a Parents' Choice Silver Medal. Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award finalists. In 2009 she received the Alice B. Award. Her set of children's picture books Mommy, Mama, and Me and Daddy, Papa and Me were 2010 Stonewall Honor Books as well as her 2013 October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepherd.
- Shneer, David; Aviv, Caryn (2002), Queer Jews, Routledge, pp. 29–35, ISBN 0-415-93167-3
- Tarr, Beth L. (August 1, 2004), "Picture books for read-aloud time with your favorite kid", Lambda Book Report, retrieved 2008-11-29
- "Surrey book ban under fire from Victoria". The Province, April 27, 1997.
- "Supreme Court overturns book ban". Sudbury Star, December 24, 2002.
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