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Let Books be Books: The beginning of the end for gender-marketed children

November 27th, 2014

British parents are leading a campaign to rid our bookshelves of children’s fiction specifically targeted either to boys or to girls.

A spin off from the ‘Let Toys be Toys’ campaign, the ‘Let Books be Books’ movement aims to encourage publishers to remove the ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ labels from books. This, they say, will allow children to choose to read about the topics they are interested in – not just what the publishers say they should be interested in.

The campaign asserts: “Just like labelling toys ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’ these books send out very limiting messages to children about what kinds of things are appropriate for girls or for boys. Blue covers, with themes of action and adventure, robots, space, trucks and pirates contrast with a riot of pink sparkles, fairies, princesses, flowers and butterflies. But real children’s interests are a lot more diverse, and more interesting, than that.”

In my view, it’s pretty lazy to paint a book pink and say “this is for girls”, or to write a story about an astronaut and say “this is for boys”. With more and more publishers getting on board and joining this campaign, now authors, illustrators and designers have a real opportunity to be genuinely creative and think of new, innovative ways to appeal to children of both genders without resorting to stereotypes.


About the Author:

Although her primary niche is in scientific writing and editing, freelance writer Lisa Martin is also a creative type with an eye for design. She regularly works alongside graphic designers and as such has a keen interest in the development of logos and branding.

Leave Your Comment

As a parent of a girl, I have to agree. Enough with colors for girls and toys for boys. Women can play hokey now. As much as we like to have gender based designs that "appeal" to women, I think there are women who would be attracted to red and black as well as men who might enjoy pink and periwinkle.

by PavelDecember 12, 2014