Working in a book shop has made me far more aware of kid’s books than I have been before. I don’t know any kids, I don’t have kids and don’t have any younger cousins. Some of my cousins have just had babies, but they’re far too young to be reading just yet!
I’ve noticed how so many parents and grandparents come in, especially over Christmas, and reject books based on the gender of the protagonist. It’s not happening so much in the YA age bracket, but in the younger children’s books.
Please, people… just because the main character of a book is a female doesn’t mean that your little boy won’t or can’t empathise with her or enjoy her story! If he wants to read it, let him! Reading a book with a girl in it won’t turn your son gay, but it could make him a better and more empathetic man when he grows up!
Reading a book forces you to put yourself in the shoes of another person. Studies have shown that reading fiction makes people more empathetic. This is a fantastic thing! Empathy is an important feature in a person’s life; it makes them more likely to relate to other people, be more sympathetic to the feelings of others and will help them in all aspects of their life. This is a really great trait to have in any gender, and will do nothing but make you a great human to be around. Empathy is not weakness, and your boy will benefit from it… and reading is a key to this aspect of his personality!
Little girls are often reading books with male characters involved, with little to no judgement. We learnt to place ourselves in the position of a boy from a very early age. Of course there are loads of books that feature fairies, princesses and ballerinas, which are fully intended for a female audience.Hey, I loved them as a child too! But I also loved Selby the Talking Dog, Ratty and Mole, Harry Potter and various other male characters, and read those books over and over again!
We gender so much of what we do already, and literature for adults has not escaped this at all. It just seems such a shame to box children in to a limited number of books, simply because of their gender. There’s a whole world of books out there for children these days, at all levels of reading, that deal with all manner of subjects. Let your children choose for themselves whether they want to read a book or not based on their interests. Your little girl loves dragons and ancient Greeks? Awesome! Your boy wants to read about a cat lady and a family of sisters? Cool! Go for it!
This makes me really sad, and I felt like getting it off my chest. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know!