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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Questions about Books for Boys vs. Books for Girls

I found something quite interesting during my search for some great books for boys. There are far more books for girls than there are for boys. Why is that? Do girls really read that much more than boys? Do boys have a harder time reading?

Is it harder to write a book that boys would be interested in reading? Is it harder to write the boy point of view? Am I delusional and reading too much into this?

What do you think about this?

13 comments:

Elaine Magliaro said...

Vivian,

You've got me thinking: Are there really more books written for girls than boys? Are you considering just recently published books? There have certainly been a number of good books about/for boys that come to mind for me: Holes, Hoot, Stone Fox, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Bud, Not Buddy, The Giver...to name some. There are Cleary's books about Henry Huggins. I haven't read any of Mike Lupica's children's books--but I have heard that they're good.

I know there was talk after the Newbery Awards were announced that the medalist and honor books were all about girls.

HipWriterMama said...

Elaine,
Yes, I agree there have been a number of good books for boys published recently. This is primarily based on my conversations with the local librarians in my town. We have a pretty well stocked library, so I was surprised by their comments that there weren't as many good books for boys out there. I admit, I haven't gone to the bookstores yet to ask this question, and I'll probably get around to that soon.

PJ Hoover said...

I've always heard editors and agents screaming that they need sports and war type books for boys because the boys are just not reading as much, probably due to many things including lack of stuff they are really interested in reading.
I keep telling my husbnad to start writing and write sports fiction. Good sports fiction.

P.S. I like the new picture.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Judging from just three years as a school librarian, I can say that many of the boys in my elementary school (Pre-K to 4) preferred nonfiction to fiction. Some gravitated toward the sports books written by Fred Bowen and Matt Christopher and Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio series. Some of the boys really liked the Chet Gecko mysteries, which--like the Scieszka books--have an abundance of humor.

MyUtopia said...

I think culture and gender roles condition children that reading is more of a "girl" thing, while being physical and active is more appropriate for boys.

Jim D said...

Okay Vivian, I know it wasn't your goal, but you've convinced me. Next novel will be from boy's point of view. Now if I can just finish revisions to my 2 MG novels that have girls as protagonists....

I recently did a 3500 word short story -- first person -- boy as main character. It was no harder, no easier than from a girls POV.

Jim D.

Jeanne said...

I was doing a search of readers and writers on blogspot and came across your blog! I wanted to invite you to check out a site I belong to that I think you would enjoy www.booktalks.org it's a book based site with a growing community of readers and learners. We have book chats about common titles and talk about what we are reading individually. Check us out and see what you think. If choose to register a larger portion of the site will open up including the coffee shop where we meet to chat about everything and anything. We a;lways welcome new people!

On a side note I have bookmarked your blog! I will definitley be stopping in again to see what you next write!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Some time in the 70's there was a study done that boys read books about boys, and girls would read books about girls or boys. A lot of people jumped to the conclusion that books should be written from a boy's perspective, and therefore everyone would relate. (M.E. Kerr is one author who admitted to doing this.) When I read about that trend as a teenager, I was really, really resentful. I felt that boys got everything else: more money per hour, more bias in favor of them in general, more physical strength-- why were they getting my books too?!

If a person wants to write a book from the point of view of a different sex/gender than s/he's used to for the sake of stretching one's self, experimenting, or just feeling driven to do so, that's fine. I just don't want to see a gung-ho over-the-top focus on books for books to the exclusion of books for girls. I want a "Dangerous Book for Girls" too. (Daring is good, but I want dangerous!)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

That is to say, "Books for boys," not books for books! Though hey, what about books' rights? Books need books like people need people... oh, now I'm just getting silly. More coffee please.

max said...

Actually, I noticed this back in 2001 and began writing the kinds of books I would have liked as a boy. That's because I hated to read. Today, 7 of my action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 - 13, are published, and I've completed 35 manuscripts.

Max Elliot Anderson

http://www.maxbooks.9k.com

Reviews http://www.maxbookreviews.blogspot.com

HipWriterMama said...

Tricia-
That would be cool if you and your husband were both writers.


Elaine-
Thanks for the reminder of some good authors of great boy books.


My Utopia-
I do wonder about that.


Jim,
Good luck with your revisions. And if this post gets you working on a new manuscript for a great book for boys, that would be awesome.


Jeanne,
Thank you for visiting. I will check out your site later.


Alkelda,
I can always count on you for some great stuff. I like that, "Dangerous Books for Girls."


Max,
Wow. That's wonderful! Thank you for visiting.

Sarah Amick said...

I find in teaching 1st grade boys and girls that my boys enjoy lots of nonfiction and quick reads, like Guiness Book of World Records, magazines, sports facts books, Eye Spy. They read more for information and not for the poetry of the words. That is not to say that they don't read for enjoyment. It is just an enjoyment that the girls in my class don't "get." By no means does this mean that boys don't enjoy reading, it's just a different type of genre enjoyment.

Little Willow said...

As a writer, I just want to tell a good story. Whether it has a female or male protagonist is dictated by the story, as I tend to picture and know the character right away. I do shy away from writing first-person from a male POV, but I will write third-person with the main character being male.

As a reader, I want to read a good story. I'll read books written by female or male authors, about female or male characters. My favorite books are a mix of genres, styles, genders, and all that jazz.