The Children's Book Garden

Reading and weeding through the best and worst of children's literature

Favorite Children’s Books: Gender-Skewed Selections? July 19, 2011

I’m lucky; I work with people who read. It’s not unusual to find us chatting about things we’re reading, but especially, it seems, the books we remember reading as kids.

A bonus of having children: I get to reread my favorites to or with them at some point, including:

  • A Wrinkle in Time trilogy (though there’s actually four or five in that line)
  • the Ramona Quimby books
  • Trixie Belden
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Beverly Cleary books
  • Lois Duncan books
  • Chronicles of Narnia
As I look at the list, I notice something. Something really obvious. They are all – mostly – about girls.
Now, I happen to be a girl, so it’s no surprise, but what I wonder is, are there amazing, awesome, meaningful, captivating books for the pre and emerging adolescent about boys that I somehow missed?
My brain scrambles. A few titles surface:
  • The Phantom Tollbooth
  • The Hardy Boys
  • On the Run
But, that’s all I got.
Because my son is a boy – go figure – and I’m going to want to give him and my daughter a balanced view of things:
Any Suggestions? 
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3 Responses to “Favorite Children’s Books: Gender-Skewed Selections?”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing, How to Eat Fried Worms, Shiloh, Sounder (sniffle), Where the Red Fern Grows, The Phantom Tollbooth, Encyclopedia Brown series (loved these), Bobbsey Twins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Later on, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t.

    I just realized a lot of these are depressing books about a boy and his dog. Sigh.

  2. Andie Casey Says:

    My son loved The Magic Treehouse series when he was in early elementary school: http://www.magictreehouse.com/ – and he’s pretty much a total non-reader due to a learning disability. The protagonists are a brother and sister, and they explore historical events with a little magical help.

  3. A. Yeargan Says:

    Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen. It is hysterical and my oldest son loves it intensely. The youngest can read it when he is old enough to really appreciate the humor of urinating on an electric fence. Trust me on that. Love your blog!


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