So I came across this amazing article that I really like on two topics very dear to my heart!
Why Boys Should Read Girl Books by Caroline Paul
I put very few limitations on what kiddo reads. I’ve always encouraged him to read and it has been my greatest accomplishment so far that he has a strong love for reading.
He reads above his grade level. That did cause some issues early in the school year in the “read and test” setup that is supposed to help a teacher determine a student’s reading level. It took awhile to get everything squared away so that his reading assignments are both interesting and at his level. We utilize our public library often, since he goes through books so quickly – I cannot tell you how relieved I was to see their very large Hank the Cowdog section!
I started thinking back, trying to remember if I had ever seen him express any interest in a book featuring a female lead or a series focused more on female characters. I couldn’t think of one. I talked with my boyfriend about this on the way to pick kiddo up from daycare and he was stumped as well.
But the real question is have I ever steered him away from those books? Or actively encouraged him to look for them?
I checked his bookcase and was (relieved) happy to find that there was, at least one book featuring a female protagonist. We have a few of the Ramona series as well as a Junie B Jones book. He just finished the first of a new series called The Genius Factor: How to Catch An Invisible Cat, which has a female lead also. I’ve been trying for several years to get him to read Harriet the Spy but it hasn’t ever caught his interest.
I know, a few books isn’t exactly groundbreaking in terms of impact. To the very best of my knowledge, I’ve never deterred him from any book that was age appropriate. As soon as he took an interest in choosing his own reading material, I let him loose in the stacks, so to speak! I do a quick once over before we check out. His interests these days seem to rotate around sports and cars.
Pretty standard “boy” stuff.
I absolutely stand in agreement with the author’s stance that we need to not only advocate for more diversity in children/young reader books. As the mother of a young (white, middle class) male child – I need to perhaps push even harder for my son to be encouraged to read about perspectives other than his own.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to get him to read The Babysitters Club. But I can look for more books like The Genius Factor series he started that feature girls in central roles. I wonder if my library will have The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure available for loan?