12 Books that Combat Gender Stereotypes
I was sitting at home with my daughter one morning and she was reading Dogman over breakfast. Usually, she takes the book that she is reading and puts it in her bag to read at school during quiet reading time. That morning, she left the book on the counter. When I asked her why she did not want to take it with her to school, she said her friend told her it was a “boy” book. This statement made me take pause. What is a” boy” book? How do I have a conversation with my daughter about the need to combat gender stereotypes 10 minutes before she is supposed to leave for school? This is clearly a longer conversation.
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In recent years there have been so many studies about gender disparity in education and the effects of gender stereotypes in education. Just this past August, GMA host Lara Spencer publicly mocked Prince George for taking ballet lessons. While she apologized for her insensitive comments, the deep roots of the gender bias were obvious to anyone watching. Kirsten and I decided to find some books that challenge gender stereotypes. We thought it would be the perfect way to start a dialogue with our kids.
Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots by Carmela LaVigna Coyle
I love this book about getting dirty, being silly and being yourself. The message is to be true to yourself.
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julian wants to be a mermaid but, how will his grandmother react? This book is a wonderful story about unconditional love and acceptance
Ballerino Nate by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
We love Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and we love this book about a boy and his love of dance. I love how Bradley is able to delve a little deeper without preaching. A must-read for any child.
Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch
This modern classic is about a princess who sets off to save her prince and ultimately, finds herself.
Free to be You and Me by Marlo Thomas
I have loved this book since I was 10 years old and I read it for the first time. The CD that comes with this book has all the songs (that I used to have on a cassette). Every poem and story in this book is about breaking the gender norms. It is a favorite in our house.
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Tom and Kai Yun Ching
This is a wonderful story about a child who cannot decide whether they should become a boy or a girl, a fish or a bird. They decide to become everything. This is such a wonderful book about acceptance
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
This book is inspired by the first African American Woman to go to space. Sometimes all you need is a role model to help you reach for the stars. In this case, I mean that literally and figuratively.
Berenstein Bears No Girls Allowed by Stan and Jan Berenstein
When Sister Bear shows that she is better than Brother Bear, he makes a club called No Girls Allowed. How can boys and girls learn to play together?
Princesses can be Pirates Too! by Christi Zellerhoff
Who says that a girl dressed up in a crown and a tutu can’t play pirate too? Looks can be deceiving and its what’s inside that counts.
Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman
This book addresses the stereotype that pink is for girls. The book encourages boys and girls to do what they love.
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag
Boys grow up to be shapeshifters and girls become witches. But, what if you are a boy who loves witchery? Would you show your talents if it meant you would be exiled? This Middle grade challenges gender stereotypes.
Did you come here looking for books to talk to your kids about the LGBTQ community? You’ll find that list here.