This is a late afternoon philosophical rant, so feel free to ignore it.
I need more books for boys in my library. There's been a lot of comment out there on how authors write for children not girls or boys, and as someone who bought only yellow and green unisex baby clothing and gave my son a doll and my girls trucks and tools, I would love to agree. My best friend pointed out that it's somehow disturbing to her as a feminist that we expect girls to read books about boys, but allow boys not to read books with girls as main characters. This was addressed by Diantha McBride in School Library Journal, where she went as far as suggesting that some authors make the main characters boys instead of girls, and people were not very nice about it.
By middle school, there is a huge difference in what boys and girls want to read. Sure, there are a handful of books that both will read. The Lightning Thief. Lemony Snicket. Anthony Horowitz. But I've been desperately searching for funny books for boys. Secretly, ROMANCE books for boys.
That's the difference. Boys don't want to read a book where the main character is a girl who likes a boy. It doesn't help them. Doesn't give them any pointers. And, I believe, girls and boys are looking for different things in a middle school romance. Girls just want to hold someone's hand. I didn't find out until I was middle aged what the boys wanted, which would explain my lack of dates when I was in school. And also maybe the lack of books, since we try not to encourage, um, fascination with individual body parts.
It is hard to get boys to read, and part of it has to be that most of the teachers, librarians, bloggers and even writers are girls. There are so few role models. There are lots of girl books, and most girls will read anything.
Philosophical question of the day: Should we differentiate? Does it serve our patrons better? Does it make the sexes more unequal? How bad should I feel abou tthis? What is the most important thing, bottom line?
And how many books can we expect Gordon Korman and Anthony Horowitz to write before they get tired?