Oh dear. American Girl books author Valerie Tripp is going to oversee the writing of a series of boys' books, but don't expect them to be anything like Little Britches, Treasure Island, or the Hardy Boys mysteries. Those kids' standbys are, like, too old:
"We found the Hardy Boys.” She makes a face. “But they’re, like, 50 years old.”And they're so outdated, what with their narrow treatment of -- wait for it -- gender and all:
“I really think we want to say that it’s as okay for boys to be into design or dance” as they are into bugs or bicycles, she says. “No interest or passion is the sole property of any one person or gender.” [. . .]Maybe the books will be better than they sound and not so much like a chick flick?
The series will be called “Boys Camp.” It will recount the adventures of six fictional kids who meet at a summer camp, overcome obstacles and share their stories with grade-school readers in clean, middle-grade prose.
Tripp and her partners in revolution hope that the books will help unbookish boys discover a love of reading and help even the bookish ones broaden their concepts of masculinity.Methinks someone has an agenda. My favorite part, with emphasis added, from Post writer Monica Hesse:
The question of why (some) boys don’t read is part of the much thornier question of who (some) boys want to be: You can give a boy a tutu — and please do — but some of them are going to whip it off their waists and turn it into a frilly pink war headdress.Free to be you and me!
The book series is the brainchild of two mothers of boys. It's a hopelessly old-fashioned idea, but I always thought it was a mother's job to civilize her sons and a father's job to make sure she doesn't go too far. Maybe the dads need to get involved in this process? There is such a thing as too much feminine influence.
It may be that the adults quoted in the article are a little too conscious of gender as they search for good kids' fiction. Some girls I know prefer (though only slightly) the Hardy Boys to Nancy Drew. And I've known little boys whose interest was easily held by the first few Little House books, which feature monster blizzards, wild bears, panthers, hostile Indians, and a strong father figure in Pa, who can build a house from scratch and play a mean fiddle at the end of the day.
For some good children's books suggestions, see this list.
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