Tuesday, July 21, 2009

boys and books, revisited

The debate on what it takes to get boys to read (with the assumption they aren't reading enough) goes on. A school librarian in School Library Journal recently made the statement that we need more books with boy protagonists, and that "lots of books with female characters aren't really about being female. In fact, in many cases, the main characters could just as easily have been males—and that would make my job a lot easier". She sights Siberia as an example.

Over on MSN's Mom and Pop Culture page (a cleverly titled blog for parents about pop culture), Martha Brockenbrough argues that "
But the problem isn't the books, it's the way we're raising our boys. If they aren't willing to read about girls, and if we're indulging that sort of nonsense, then we are raising boys who will have a hard time functioning in a world where girls play serious roles. In other words, the real world."

What do you think? Should authors be writing fewer books staring girls? Or should we stop just accepting that boys are less inclined to read about girls, and start actively encouraging them to get over themselves?


Anne said...

Well... I think there are plenty of books with male protagonists, and female protagonists. I've never really thought about whether it's a disproportionate amount in either direction.

I also know several teen boys who will read books with a female protagonist, without complaining.

I do tend to agree with the Martha. Nearly everything in our culture has a dividing line across the sexes, and from birth we market boy things and girl things.

To see how prevalent it is, spend a little time with this blog:


I think what we can do is promote books unapologetically on their merit. If we model unbiased enthusiasm for something, then more teens may be willing to cross the lines that are otherwise driven into their psyche every day.


Dawn said...

Ooo...thanks fo the link, Anne. That is a very cool blog.