« Book of a Thousand Days and writing outside my culture | Main | Stories for all: librarian Margaret Millward »

October 12, 2015



Thank you for carrying on this could conversation. I've been guilty of telling my son he'll like a book with a girl MC, even though I should know better. Next time, I'll leave the qualifier off! This male standard is, by the way, part of the reason my debut features a strong girl who is NOT kick-ass: I want readers to see girls can be strong without having to be physically strong in the ways we expect boys to be.


Yes, this drives me crazy.
My 10 yo boy just finished all the goose girl books and the first princess academy and loved them (esp goose girl!)... But he is homeschooled, so I guess that doesn't help your data. 😉
(Forgive punctuation etc, on iPad)

Jen Robinson

This is such an important conversation. We just had KidLitCon, the children's and YA book blogger conference (w/ Shannon as virtual keynote last year), this past weekend, and the topic of gender and books came up repeatedly. Especially the way you hear of books about a "strong girl" but never about a "strong boy". We agreed that this needed more focus for next year. I'll be following and sharing this discussion via my own and @KidLitCon feeds this week. My daughter is five years old - I would like for her, and her friends, boys and girls, to just be able to read great books.

J. Scott Bronson

I am a substitute teacher these days and since having read the blog post on this subject earlier this year, when I let the kids ask me questions about me (elementary school kids especially want to know all about The Sub), I am prepared with these answers when they ask, "What's your favorite book?" and "What's your favorite movie?" To the first question, I answer, "I have a lot of favorite books; one of them is Princess Academy." To the second, I reply, "I have several favorite movies; one of them is Anne of Green Gables." This has sparked a minor debate more than once. I always win when I ask, "Are the Harry Potter books boy books? Are the Hunger Games books girl books?"


i'm one of those guilty of not thinking about gender bias much for a long time, but since you've opened my eyes up to it, i've noticed it happening in my own home where i'm the mother of 3 boys. it's led to conversations like one i had today with my 6 year old who said "pink and purple are girls colors and i don't like them." to which i replied "well, are there any colors i shouldn't like because they are 'boy colors' and i'm a girl?" he couldn't think of any he said and my hope is that by not just shrugging off comments he makes like that but by really talking about them, he'll be able to not see things as boy vs girl or boys are better than girls mentality, but think it through more. so thank you for opening up my eyes to the world around me more. i really want my boys to grow up liking colors, books, shows etc without being afraid to because of gender bias.


I love that you are addressing this. I am also thankful my husband doesn't care who the star character is in the books he reads or the gender of the author. He openly read The Goose Girl and loved it. His father is very much the same way. To them, a good book is just that, a good book. There is no such thing as a "girl" book or a "boy" book. We have six girls and one boy. That one boy is a twin to a girl. He likes My Little Pony just as much as he likes Star Wars. His sister likes Transformers just as much as she likes Cinderella. They both love Ever After High. We have had comments from some people that have been a somewhat irritating; like, "I am surprised your son seems to be all boy when he likes things like My Little Pony so much." My teens and I have this discussion all the time. Why is it that when a girl likes G.I. Joe or Star Wars, she is considered cool, but when a boy likes My Little Pony or Ever After High, he is considered a sissy? My daughters who are old enough to date have helped young men come out of their shell and feel more comfortable admitting they like "girl" books/movies/cartoons. Boys and girls suffer when we keep these stereotypes ingrained in our society. I like to imagine the difference it would make if all children felt free to read any book they liked. Imagine the impact it would have on their future relationships.


I read Princess in Black this summer to my campers, a boys and girls group. At first the boys protested, but once we made it to the end of chapter 1, they were all hooked and wanted to know what happened next. They were so sad when we finished the book and there weren't more to read. The boys were talking about how they would have to get the next book! The boys called her awesome and said she was one of the coolest supper heroes ever!

The comments to this entry are closed.