happy international women’s day! for IWD17 I dusted off this blog to post about something that’s very close to my heart: female representation in children’s books.
books are my fave kind of gift to give or receive, so when an email arrived in my inbox from a local independent kids’ store late last year entitled bookworms delight!, I was pretty excited. my excitement soon gave way to dismay. they’d divided the books up into a list for ‘boys’ and a list for ‘girls’.
amazing babes was on their list for girls. frida kahlo was on their list for girls. there was not one book on the ‘boys’ list that featured a female protagonist. there was however, a male protagonist on the girls list. insert eye-roll here.
there were so many reasons this email was disappointing, but to pick just one, if all the books we’re reading to boys have male protagonists, the message we’re sending to boys is that the male perspective is the primary point of view. that the male experience is the normal, default experience. we need to undo this way of thinking.
how can boys get comfortable with seeing girls as leaders, or even simply as equals, if they’re never read books where a girl is the main player?
what was even sadder, was that on the list for boys they’d included a book called tough guys have feelings too, so they kind of were getting the idea about the need to break out of traditionally prescribed behaviour for men and women…. but then not quite.
so here are a few books with girls as the main character that we enjoy at our house. you can click through to read more about them. rose (5) and max (9) enjoy all of them in no particular order.
9 of our fave picture books about girls, for girls and boys
1. fancy nancy
4. best friends for frances and the frances books
as a side note, to make this list I gathered up a bundle of books that we regularly read from the kids’ bookshelves. what I found when I went to link the list for you, is that quite a few of the books by australian female authors, like the kinder hat and whisper wild freedom child were out of print. you may want to look for these in your local library.
p.s if you have any picture books you’d like to recommend, I’d love to hear!