Books / Culture

How Does your Library Stack up? Last week a friend posted a picture of his young daughters’ books in piles on his Facebook page. He had sorted them by main character female, main character male, main character neutral (books on colors or animals where no gender is attributed) or main characters both. As a feminist, he was baffled to find out how (comparatively) few books he had with female leads. A quick trip to the used book store fixed it for him.

I thought about his results and was inspired to do the same. Except, I decided my 3 1/2 year old daughter should help me sort. Here are our results:

Photo Credit: Clare Masson

Photo Credit: Clare Masson

Now, I do have a few disclaimers. She decided both Pookie and Maisy were female. Honestly, I don’t know. The books with male main characters included 10,000 dresses and And Tango Makes Three.  On balance, she had a good selection of books with male, female, and androgynous main characters. I am pretty happy with how we stacked up.

I loved sorting our books as a joint activity. It was really insightful to hear how my daughter determined whether characters were boys or girls. For example, my daughter thinks both boys and girls wear shorts, but only boys get to wear shorts while riding bikes (probably due to my fear of skinned knees and the endless conversations we have about boo-boos not to mention the money spent on band-aides).  She also thinks that boys get to drive trains while girls fly planes.

Ready to put your books to the test?

If you need more great female leads, may I suggest:

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  1. Dylan Flunker says:

    We got Rosie Revere, Engineer and it’s great! We also really like “One Morning in Maine,” “A Chair for My Mother,” “Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match,” and “The Wise Old Women and Her Secret.”

    I’m excited to try this out with my 3.5 year old!

    • Ooo. I had never heard of two of those suggestions. I really do love “I look like a girl”. Never thought I would like a book by that name! ha!

      My friend who inspired this, also then sorted by race. There are so many options!

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