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Why does Lovereading4kids have a Great Books for Boys category?

By PeterC on 16th April 2014

You may have seen all the furor in the press recently over toys and books reinforcing gender stereo types – and maybe you are thinking why does Lovereading4kids have a Great Books for Boys section? - And indeed we were challenged by a member to justify it. You can read our full response below but the overriding reason was because it was clear from the emails we received in the office that it was needed by parents of boys who were struggling to get them engaged with parents. For us pragmatism overrides political correctness anytime.

Here is the email that challenged why we had a Great Books for Boys category.


Subject: Website Form: Gender specific searches

Message posted by: Wendy


Your website is a great resource. The ability to search by age and other categories is invaluable. However, I have to shake my head in despair that you allow books to be labelled as for boys or girls. It's time this outdated stereotyping was phased out. If websites like yours did not reinforce them, or even made a public point of avoiding them, this would be beneficial for you, your readers and educational for those selecting the books. Publishers need help to wake up and acknowledge that labelling books in this way is something that belongs in the past.

Here is our response.

Dear Wendy

We are delighted you find Lovereading4kids a useful resource. We are sorry though you take issue with our Books for Boys category. We did think long and hard about the pros and cons of creating a Books for the Boys category but from the early days of Lovereading4kids, a site providing parents with guidance on what their kids might like to read, we had sufficiently regular customer service queries from parents requesting advice and guidance on good books for boys to read. Some of whom had quite reluctant readers and wanted reassurance that a title they chose was likely to get a positive response. So we took the decision to set up the ‘books for boys’ category. Since then we've have had feedback saying how helpful the category is.

However, we absolutely concur that books aimed specifically at either boys or girls because 'for the girls' or 'for the boys' is mentioned in the title, or colour of the cover for example is not something that should be happening. But to create a special category as we have done and curate it with a range of books that gives parents confidence and guidance has shown to be incredibly useful.

In addition, all the titles that feature in the Books for the Boys category also feature in categories by relevant age ranges and in fascinating Facts if they are non-fiction titles. They might also feature in other categories too if appropriate where no gender preference is made.

Finally, we are very clear within the category that girls might equally enjoy the books in the Books for Boys category. As we say on the category home page:

"We’ve created a special category of books, broken down by age range, which our experts think will be enjoyed enormously by boys. It might be purely because there’s plenty of exciting action and fast-moving plots in the story and that the book will grab the reader’s attention before they’ve even finished the first page or perhaps the characters in the story are mostly boys. Please don’t think however, that we’re excluding girls from having an interest in these books. We know there are plenty of girls who also enjoy books that are more aimed at boys".

Please don't hesitate to get back in touch if you have any further queries.

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