Gendered Reading Still Persists

Does this image shock you?

Why do we still have this distinction between “books for boys” and “books for girls” on recommended reading lists in 2021? 

Surely, the only questions that matter when choosing a book for a child are: is it well written, is the story engaging, will my child be interested? 

This last question is the one where stereotypes persists. Are boys only interested in stories of adventure? Are girls only interested in stories of princesses? Of course not, and by assuming so, we are doing children a great disservice. 

Children should be presented with a variety of books to read. Books that expand their world view. Books with characters that inspire them rather than pigeonhole them.  If we do not ensure this happens, we risk perpetuating the stereotypes the writer of the book list in the image presents.

Publishers have a part to play in this question when they choose colours and images for the covers of their books. Who are they trying to appeal to? And most importantly, why are they limiting their audience? 

I challenge these stereotypes every term when I choose books for my book groups. And my students never fail to rise to the challenge and embrace the books I present. Surely, we should all be doing the same and banish the concept of gendered books to history?

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