Thursday, November 4, 2021

Janssen Bradshaw, in an Article at Brightly, Urges Us: Let’s Stop Labeling Books as “Boy Books” or “Girl Books”


Screen shot from the Brightly article

Janssen writes in Let's Stop Labeling Books as "Boy Books" or "Girl Books":

“It’s such a shame when we, as parents, teachers, or librarians, automatically assume that a boy wouldn’t enjoy a story with a female protagonist.

Girls read books with male protagonists all. the. time. and no one thinks twice about it. It would be laughable for someone to see a girl reading a Harry Potter novel and say, “I can’t believe you’re reading that boy book.”

The sad truth is that often, we assume books with male main characters are for everyone, and books with female main characters are only for girls.

And this is a lose-lose situation.”

Janssen continues:

“And when we read books aloud, buy them as gifts, or help children and students pick out library books, we should rotate between novels with female and male main characters. Let children see the stories of both girls and boys as interesting, engaging, and worth exploring.”

I liked Janssen's article, though I felt it could have been written anytime in the last 50 years or more.

Today, I'd update the idea to also include books with gender nonconforming main characters -- characters who are Intersex, Trans, Gender Queer, Gender Questioning, Gender-Fluid, Nonbinary, and other gender diverse identities. More than 9% of kids today identify outside the gender binary, so including their lives – in fiction and nonfiction – for all kids to read about is also incredibly important.

And yeah, let's stop labeling books to limit who reads what.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

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