Independent rejects gender-specific children’s books


Happily, as the literary editor of The Independent on Sunday, there is something that I can do about this. So I promise now that the newspaper and this website will not be reviewing any book which is explicitly aimed at just girls, or just boys. Nor will The Independent’s books section. And nor will the children’s books blog at Any Girls’ Book of Boring Princesses that crosses my desk will go straight into the recycling pile along with every Great Big Book of Snot for Boys. If you are a publisher with enough faith in your new book that you think it will appeal to all children, we’ll be very happy to hear from you. But the next Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen will not come in glittery pink covers. So we’d thank you not to send us such books at all.

3 thoughts on “Independent rejects gender-specific children’s books

  1. I have a question along these lines. I am collecting a classroom library for a middle school class. I plan on having the books “Kiss My Math” & “Math Doesn’t Suck” by Danica McKellar, they are very highly gendered. The diagrams are marked with hearts & flowers, the word problems are about make-up tips. They are a bit cloying and froo-froo, but considering the gender disparity in math after elementary school, do you think that gendered books such as Ms. KcKellar’s are good or problematic?

  2. Ever since posting this, I’ve been wondering about cases like those, where gendered books are designed to subvert at least some of the gendered stereotypes.

  3. My partner reports that McKellar’s books were useful for a couple of girls in her pre-algebra class. She said that the most notable thing about them was not so much the gendered stuff but that McKellar writes things out at great length, so that they’re more accessible for more verbal students. She also thought that McKellar is good at coming up with concrete examples and analogies. You wouldn’t want them to be the only books you used, but she thinks they’re a useful resource.

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