Via pharaoh-katt, librarian Diantha McBride has a complaint about the number of girls there are in kidlit. Is she having trouble finding good books with interesting female protagonists?
No. She is whinging that not enough boys feature in kidlit. She seems particularly appalled that there are female protagonists in books that aren’t specifically about female topics. Whatever they are. Shopping and boys, I guess? Ponies? Glitter makeup? How dare girls feature in books about boystuff, like adventure and mystery? Boys must have manly role models! They can’t be expected to relate to those freaky cootie-wielding hormone-laden chicks!
Read for yourself. Excerpted:
Dear Publishers: [...]
Still, there are many things I wish publishers would do differently, things that could make your books much better. Here are my top 10 suggestions. [...]
5. More boy books.
I’m afraid this won’t be popular, but I need more books for boys—as do most librarians who work with young people. I’ve noticed 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. Our young guys love Anthony Horowitz’s “Alex Rider” series (Philomel), Dav Pilkey’s stuff, and Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz’s “Froggy” books (Viking). But a novel like Ann Halam’s Siberia (Random House, 2005) could have included a male protagonist. (Sorry, Ann, but it’s true.) And Gloria Whelan’s The Impossible Journey (HarperCollins, 2003) could have featured an older brother and a younger sister—instead of 13-year-old Marya and her younger brother, Georgi. Am I being silly? Probably, but some of our boys have never read a complete book in their lives. It’s important to offer them good, appealing stories, and, sad to say, that means stories with prominent male characters.
For perspective, the Telegraph published an (Anglocentric) Top 50 Children’s Books list last year. Here’s the top twenty.
1 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C S Lewis
2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
3 Famous Five series, Enid Blyton
4 Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
5 The BFG, Roald Dahl
6 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, J K Rowling
7 The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
8 The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
9 Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
10 The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson
11 The Tales of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
12 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
13 Matilda, Roald Dahl
14 The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
15 The Cat in the Hat, Dr Seuss
16 The Twits, Roald Dahl
17 Mr Men, Roger Hargreaves
18 A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
19 The Malory Towers Series, Enid Blyton
20 Peter Pan, J M Barrie