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April 28, 2015


Briana @ Pages Unbound

I think correcting the behavior is a great approach. It's quite possible that, actually, no one ever has told the students this behavior is first, rude to the speaker and second, unfair to anyone who enjoys the things they are booing. It's a shame more teachers haven't stepped in to stop the jeers, although I hope this is a conversation they at least have after the assembly. If not, I do think it makes a very strong point if an authority figure, the visiting speaker, literally stops the assembly to address the booing. I remember being a student, and that would certainly make an impression on me. I also remember that, if a visitor ever felt the need to do something like this, the teachers were subsequently very embarrassed and would definitely have a conversation with us about our behavior once they had gone.

Linda Westphal

I agree that it's about time we call them on it. As a librarian, I'm tired of the boos - or worse, having to keep the my selection of book talk books to only the ones "everyone" will like. Outside of the boy/girl issue they need to know that it is not okay to mock the things that others enjoy. However, I liked your point about boys being told that they can only read half of the books. Maybe they would get it if you pointed out that is like going to a party and being told you can only eat the foods on half of the table.

Lehua Paker

Call them out and challenge them to think differently. If you set a higher standard and explain it ways that kids can connect with to other school programs and reinforcement messages it'll stick. Bullying is under a microscope now and if you frame their reaction as another form of bullying, they'll get it.

Priya Sridhar

Honestly the teachers should be calling them out, and Kudos for not taking it lying down!


Why in the heck are teachers or the principal letting the kids do that!!

Ruthann Wadsworth

My brother is 150% boy, if that's even possible. He's an Eagle scout, a mechanic, an engineer, a rock climber, a thrill ride builder, and crash derby driver. He was the second of 6 kids, the rest of us are girls. He taught his sisters to change oil, repair bikes, shoot bows and guns, hike, fish, and read Louis L'Amor. But he read our "girl" books too. And liked most of them. And he learned to cook, and clean and sew. He used those skills to do all his boy things better. All the "boy" stuff he taught me has made me a better girl.
Good on you for hushing them. Lop-sided stereotypes make for crummy childhoods and boring adults.


I think it was very brave and commendable of you to stand up for all the girls. You have that strong sense of justice that I admire. If I were you I can only hope I could be that courageous. You are a living Miri. Only better.
There are some things and people I don’t like, but I don’t go around booing everything and everybody. That’s plain rude.
I don’t care two eggs for those booing boys and the only reason I’m not getting my hands on them is because I don’t know where they live. Anybody who messes with our Queen Shannon will have to answer to Jessica-girl here. : D
Often it’s easy to just say yeah, sure, and go along with it. I’m glad that you stood up and did what you needed to do.
Oh, and also I love that we’re allowed to have REAL conversations here. Once I’d joined a discussion forum and there was no discussion going on whatsoever because this administrator didn’t want me to bring up anything remotely controversial. I’m glad that here we can have free speech without offending each other. I like that you don’t beat around the bush and don’t shy away from the honest truth.
Good job, Shannon. You are a lovely person.

Robin Ambrose

As the mother of three boys who love your books, I thank you. Again. It is vastly kinder (and more courageous) to correct ignorant crowd-think than to let it pass.

You rock.

Heidi Grover

Encouraging good manners is always the right thing for kids. Besides, setting the standard that boys are allowed to make fun of what is seen as "girl stuff" not only inhibits boys from exploring new interests, it establishes a pattern that girls are less valuable. This kind of attitude leads to a ton of social problems. Good for you for setting a better example!


As an educator, my first response when I encounter inappropriate student behavior is to assume that they have not been taught how to act appropriately. My job is to teach. And so that what I do. I teach students the appropriate way to behave during an author visit. I provide opportunities for students to learn how to respond to statements that they don't understand or diagree with. It is my task to teach students how to interact appropriately with guest speakers, staff members and fellow students. Teaching appropriate behavior is just as, if not more important than teaching students the times tables or the alphabet.


Why not just chalk it up as boys will be boys and girls will be girls. and THANK GOD for that!! Much ado about nothing here.....


You should do exactly as you are doing. They need to know that it's not cool.

Ryan B

As a man who was once a boy, I can attest that boys in the 10-13-year range are very insecure in their masculinity. They are deeply afraid of being perceived as unmasculine by their peers. I don't pretend to know why, but if you will indulge my speculation, I would guess it's because they long to be men but know they are still boys.

I really don't know if there is a solution to immaturity beyond maturation, but I think you're handling it well. Hopefully it makes a difference.


In our home we try to teach our 4 boys not to "yuck someone else's yum". Just because they don't like something doesn't mean they can be rude to someone. I wish that concept was reinforced more in all areas of life. If my boys were in that audience, I would hope they would be called out on their inconsiderate behavior.

Heather M. Gardner

So true!
I never taught my son to boo when he saw a commercial with toys aimed at girls, but there he was, making noises and faces when Hello Kitty was advertised or Barbie or purple Nerf guns! I'm not too girly myself, but that was completely uncalled for! Who the heck taught him that? I explained that he didn't have to like them, but he shouldn't mock them and that if he didn't knock it off, he wouldn't get the things he wanted.
I think you're doing a great thing.


Thanks for writing about this. So many times when I see sexism I either don't recognize it or don't know what to say in the moment. I like that because you kept getting the same response, you were able to anticipate the script and change it. Thanks for giving me some words to use when I need them.

Robin Ambrose

Just as a counterpoint, my oldest son (who, again, is a fan of yours), thinks the boys may have booed the dolls because they expected something else more to THEIR liking,and the booing was more disappointment than the (admittedly usual) girl-stuff-hatred.

Still, the consensus here is that it IS kinder to call boys on booing girl stuff. :)


Ugh. I'm glad you called them on it. Inexcusable in any case. Sad, too, as my 9yo son has read all of the EAH books multiple times. Good stories are for everyone.


Hi guys.
I’m a 17-year-old boy and I LOVE all of Shannon’s books. Yes, even the Princess Academy series. My little sis got me hooked on them.
I hear there’s a Princess Academy play coming out. Cool. Love to see it, if it could swing by Kentucky.

Traci Mellor

This is spot on and is a step in the right direction. It is not always boys booing girls, though. We, as women and girls, boo each other, in less blatant ways, perhaps, or sometimes even disguised as trying to liberate and empower, but it's booing some women's personal choices and dreams all the same. There is often a societal hurray for women who do high profile, "exciting," and impactful things, and for girls and women who do what the boys do, only better (or more obnoxiously, in some cases). This is natural. But there is just as often a big societal "boo" for girls and women who choose to do simple, less glamorous and less lucrative things, as if those women just aren't smart enough or capable enough to see their way out of those roles and do something in the world that really matters. There are also plenty of girls who tease others for liking pink and ruffles, for example - and that's not all the boys' fault. We need to be careful about the things we deem heroic and meaningful and the things that we overlook, scoff at, label frivolous or call "just" such-and-such. It's important to remember that anything a person is putting her heart and soul into deserves support and appreciation, from boys and - maybe most of all - from other girls.


In elementary school, I was once given detention for running away from a boy who was physically chasing me in class. I was "disrupting" the class. Disrupting? I was scared to death of what he would do if he caught me! I am not surprised, today, that schools are fostering mob behavior in boys at such a young age. I agree with Brianna that it's a shame you had to your own disciplining. Still, go you!!


Well I am going to be honest, I don't really see exactly why you think all things girly are underrated and unrespected. My brothers read "girly books" and play with "girly toys." I think, more than anything, the issue is not with parents teaching boys that "girly" things are wrong, I think the problem is with parents not teaching children to have respect for others. My brothers were taught to respect other people. They do not degrade girls because they are girls. If they happen to say something uncomplementary about a girl it is because she is not a girl that they can respect. I feel that if a girl wants respect she ought to strive to be worthy of respect. Not just demand respect because she is a girl. Same with girly books. I do not approve of a lot of girly books because so many of the characters lack anything remotely resembling common sense. I wouldn't WANT my brothers to read them. I think we ought to praise something because it is actually praiseworthy, not because it belongs to a specific category. That said, I am not I saying I think you are wrong to reproach the boys who were booing, on the contrary, I heartily agree that they ought to be taught not to slander something just because it is "girly." That is rude and degrading, and it truly hurts the feelings of little girls. I know, I've had to deal with it when I was younger. But I think also that you are exaggerating when you say that girls do not do the same thing to boys. I come from a very large extended family, I have about 26 girl cousins and about the same number of boy cousins. If anything I find that the girls are more provoking towards boys. I've also attended and taught Sunday School and found the same thing. I don't know that this is a boy versus girl thing, I think we just need to teach ALL our children, regardless of sex, to treat one another with respect.


It could very well be that girls have been told (im- or explicitly) that their love of Barbie, princesses and pink is not as acceptable as boys' love of Thomas and Avengers and camoflauge.

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