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Book buying

September 9, 2009

I am currently doing my Christmas shopping, (one thing in life that I am organised at!) and books usually figure heavily in my gift giving.  As I live in a town with NO bookshops (the shame of it), except the charity shops, I usually buy online and yesterday came across a hideous example of boy’s and girl’s books.  I know this has been done a million times, but these descriptions are truly hideous

There is no such a thing as girl’s and boy’s books (or toys for that matter) but the publishing world find this division to be profitable so it exists, but this bookseller should be held to task for the descriptions of these books!  The Curious Books are rehashes on books of old which portrayed a world that was sexist and racist and wrote books for children of better off families i.e. those with ponies and handy rivers they could sail their boats on.  Just what we need in 2009 then!

curious boys bookBook information

Make a model solar system, nurture a caterpillar into a butterfly and impress your friends with matchstick magic and flying teabags! Build a model hovercraft, be a detective and use chemistry to turn an egg into a mirror… Packed full of fun, brain-teasing experiments for active and curious boys of all ages, The Curious Boy’s Book of Discovery is an innovative guide to fun and educational things to do all year round.





curious girls book

Book information

Just like boys, girls love adventure. They like to explore, learn new skills and make their own games, crafts and recipes. This is the perfect guide for girls who are looking excitement and fun. Every chapter is packed with activities, ideas and adventures to keep boredom at bay. Learn how to camp, make jewellery, figure skate, karate kick, strike a yoga pose or organise a picnic!






 These descriptions are insulting to both genders!!!  

As I wrote above, these books are obviously rehashes of books of old, but you’ll never guess which book was targeted to both boys and girls in 1929 – click here.

I think I will buy these for my children, amend the covers and use them as an example of how stupid it is to divide books for boys and girls.

NB.  My boys love Bratz books, My Naughty Little Sister, and many other titles marketed at girls.  A good book is a good book is a good book.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean permalink
    September 9, 2009 18:48

    I was brought up on the Peter and Jane books, which were great fun and didn’t pigeon-hole genders. As you say a book is a book is a book; look at the success of the Harry Potter franchise for further evidence, being equally read by both sexes (not to mention their appeal further afield to adults and older adolescents).

  2. September 9, 2009 19:00

    You may be remembering Peter and Jane through rose tinted glasses.
    From wiki:

    The books were first published in 1964, with a firmly 1950s feel to the illustrations provided by the furniture and clothing depicted, and the social context reflecting the life of a white, middle-class family. The books were revised and updated in 1970, and again in the late 1970s, to reflect changes in fashions and in social attitudes. For example, golliwogs were airbrushed out; Daddy takes a more active domestic role; and Jane moved out of skirts and dresses into jeans, and abandoned her dolly for rollerskates. However, it remains notable how often Peter goes out to help Daddy, or actively plays with a ball, for example, while Jane stays at home to help Mummy, passively watches Peter, or plays with her doll.

    Peter and Jane are more recent for me as I chose to use them to teach my children to read – far superior to more modern reading schemes.

    As for Harry – google “Harry Potter Sexism”

    Thanks for commenting though 🙂

  3. Sean permalink
    September 9, 2009 19:17

    True, nostalgia is indeed an easy trap to fall into . I just remember the peter and jane books as harmless fluff. True also that the books also had a wonderfully naive and middle class Caucasian viewpoint of things

    I’m surprised about Harry Potter though. Though I’ve not read a single word of JK’s doorstops the public image of Harry Potter appears very equally split between genders, positing strong role models for both boys and girls. So I’m intrigued as to how they’re seen as ‘sexist’.

  4. September 9, 2009 19:26

    I wonder if you remember this Peter and Jane story? It’s one of the better ones imo.

  5. Sean permalink
    September 9, 2009 19:52

    Lol! even better would be a peter and jane for the asbo generation, replete with hoodies, spray cans and ladettes.

  6. September 9, 2009 22:00

    The Books of Gender Conservatism for Impressionable Minds by Hegemonic Press.

    Yes, under some ironic heritage lite this is lumpen sexism, a common practice.

    • September 9, 2009 22:02

      I know, it was the descriptions from the bookseller which particularly disgusted me. They are different on other booksellers sites.

  7. polly styrene permalink
    September 10, 2009 20:13

    Can I direct you to News from Nowhere E? A 100% co-operative women’s bookshop with impeccable politics who do mail order…

  8. September 10, 2009 21:04

    You may and thank you, it looks like a great site.

    I am tempted by a book called ‘Every Human Has Rights: What You Need to Know About Your Human Rights’ but not sure if it is something I should really buy for my kids. Perhaps for the neices though 🙂

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