(Inside:Check out these 5 reasons why my boys read girl’s children’s books instead of only books geared towards boys. Respect for women starts at home!)
My son recently started reading a really fun book about a group of high school girls that take a road trip adventure and encounter a professional thief planning a big jewel heist, and he absolutely loves it.
Then we got a not-so-nice comment that was absolutely well-meaning.
“Why is he reading THAT? It’s a girl book”
There was a lot I could say in that moment.
What makes it a girl book? Because there are girl characters? Does that mean that any book that features a boy lead is a “boy book” and girls shouldn’t read them?
Instead, we simply said “we think all books are for girls and boys” and left it at that.
But, it’s me, so I couldn’t leave it at that. I had to write this post to explain the 5 reasons my boys read “girl books”.
*Note. This post is sponsored by Aunt Claire Presents, published by Laboratory Books, I was given a copy of these books to review with my family and I was compensated for my time. I was not required to give a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure for details.
5 Reasons Why My Boys Read Girl Children’s Books
See, equality is a big thing in our house.
We’re fierce disability advocates, and we try to instill values and understanding of privilege and equality for our kids.
I’ve shared before about how my boys will absolutely not “be boys” by society’s standards, and my boys reading girl books is a huge part of that.
#1 Boys Need to Read Strong Girl Characters
First things first, boys need to read strong girl characters.
It’s not just a nice thing to do, it’s an absolute need.
I don’t think that most people intentionally teach boys to believe that boys are stronger than girls, but it’s the message they get accidentally all the time.
Just think about it.
We learn from the media that we take in, whether TV, news, books, blogs, or whatever.
If your son only watches or reads things with strong male characters, they’re learning over and over again that boys are strong.
So it isn’t so much that they learn girls aren’t strong, they just never really learn that they are.
When a boy regularly reads books with strong girls at the center, he is just getting more exposure to learn that girls are strong too.
#2 Boys Need Exposure to Diversity
Let’s get real for a minute.
My sons are middle class, white, American boys. Most (though definitely not all) of their friends are middle class white American boys.
While we can take steps to get them out in the community more to experience more diversity, we can also expose our kids to diversity through the media they consume.
That starts with having your kids read books with diverse characters.
Seek out books with kids of different genders, religions, cultures, ability levels, or with a different family make up than themselves.
My boys read girl books to get more exposure and to develop a greater understanding of people who are different than them.
#3 Boys Need to See Girls as More Than a Sidekick
“There are girls in boy books, though”
Yes. There is very rarely a book where there is no girl at all.
But how often is the main girl in a boy-lead book a sidekick?
Girls tend to be the helpers in boy books. They’re the best friend that help the boy shine.
I want my boys to see girls as more than their sidekick. Girls can lead the adventures too.
#4 Girl Characters can do Anything Boy Characters Can Do
This point stands on its own.
I mean, this is the basis for gender equality. Girls can do anything boys can do.
How are boys supposed to know that if they only read books about boys doing cool things, but never read about girls doing cool things?
#5 Girls Read Boy Characters All the Time
And finally, let’s just take a second to realize how crazy this whole argument is.
No one sees a girl reading Harry Potter and is like “wait a minute, Harry Potter is a boy… She shouldn’t read that!”
Because that would be awful.
Girls read boy-lead books all the time because the overwhelming majority of books published each year still feature a boy as the lead character(s).
And a lot of the time, the “girl books” feature girls that fit some outdated stereotype with ditzy girls that just talk about boys all the time.
That’s why I don’t just have my boys read any girl books, but I seek out books with strong, dynamic, and fun female lead characters.
Aunt Claire Presents Children’s Books for Girls
We have read two Aunt Claire Presents books with Mr. C in our homeschool: The Automobile Girls at Newport by Laura Dent Crane and Grace Harlowe’s Freshman Year at High School by Jessie Graham Flower, A.M.
These books are a part of a project with Aunt Claire Presents to revive books that American girls read a century ago to make them accessible for young readers today!
She’s updated the books with gorgeous new designs and a personally written introduction from Aunt Claire herself to explain some of the historical significance in the novel.
Mr. C loved learning about life during American history with these fast-paced adventure stories, and I loved that the Aunt Claire Presents website had discussion and writing prompts available for me. It made it so easy for me to put together a quick history/reading lesson!
The next two books in the series, The Girl Aviators and the Phantom Airship by Margaret Burnham and Grace Harlowe’s Sophomore Year at High School by Jessie Graham Flower, A.M. will be published in Spring 2018, so definitely keep your eyes peeled!
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