It got me thinking. Had I ever experienced something like that? If you don't know what I'm talking about, Shannon Hale mentioned how she'd been to a few school assemblies where only the girls were invited to participate because the books were "Girl books." She couldn't believe it. Her post is here.
Anyway, I have seen the same thing happen, but not to the extent that she has. I'll start explaining what my books are about, and the second I mention Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, the boys turn away. Never mind that my Sleeping Beauty knows how to fight and has to battle rather horrible creatures. Cinderella learns to use her magic to fight her captor.
Don't forget my character, Megan, who has to battle leprechauns, minotaurs, dragons, and all kinds of terrible creatures. Her boyfriend is right there along with her, but it's usually Megan who saves the day.
So are these considered "girl books?" I suppose it depends on who you ask. But really, they shouldn't be one or the other. Both boys and girls can enjoy my books. In fact, I have both nieces and nephews who love my books and ask when the next one will be coming out.
When did we start separating books into who can or can't read them? It's sad, really. It makes me think of Kevin J Anderson's speech at LDStorymakers a few years back. He mentioned how he went home crying because he wanted to read a book that the librarian said was too grown up for him. Thankfully, his mother stepped in and made sure he could read whatever books he wanted.
Shouldn't we be encouraging kids to read?
I'm a firm believer that if you don't think you're a reader, you just haven't found the right book yet. So what happens if the books that are right for you are the ones that are discouraged because they're not the "right kind?"
As I've been raising my kids, I've noticed I can't pick a book out and have them read the book. It has to be 100% their idea. If they can find a book they want, it's guaranteed they'll have it devoured within a day. If I push, they may never read it. It wasn't until I'd given up on Harry Potter that my thirteen-year-old finally picked them up and read them all.
Kids are smart. They know what they like. Let them have a the chance to enjoy it.