Tuesday morning I read a post on girl books saving the world. The premise was that if boys would just read girl books they would be different (BETTER!) and the world would be saved.
For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that there are boy books and girl books. I have a huge problem with this assumption based largely on what I do and do not read. I do read fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, action and nonfiction (history, science, anthropology, nature). I do not read romance or self help. I’ll read the occassional graphic novel but I’ve given up picking them out myself. My son picks them out for me. He’s a boy and, simply put, I’m not. But our reading overlaps. So am I reading boy books? Or is he reading girl books?
Or maybe, just maybe, we’re both reading . . . books.
As an author it is important to identify the audience for your book. It is the only way you will chose the right vocabulary and explain things in a way that your audience will grasp. And some of my books will definitely have more girl than boy readers. With titles like Women in Sports and Women in Science, librarians and teachers are going to hand the books to girls. And girls should read them, but so should boys.
Personally, I don’t think it is the attitude of the boys that we need to question. What we should question is why we, the adults who put the books out there, are still setting up this boy vs girl dichotomy and then being shocked that it’s still there.