No matter if you are a 4 gifts rule follower or a fan of the christmas tree hidden by a pile of parcels, whatever your approach we imagine books will be one of the things getting unwrapped in a couple of weeks! We love books, they're that one thing that you always get pleasure from buying and even more from gifting.
Both our kids are book lovers and to us it is very important to use them as a tool to introduce them to the world we believe in, the one we want them to be part of. A world of inclusion, diversity, acceptance and feminism!
There are 2 studies that have really resonated with me regarding kids books, although I am confident that with the raised awareness of the last few years there will have already been some improvement on the below findings.
STUDY A: 6000 books from 1900 to 2000
-Males are central characters in 57% of them, females in 31%
-Adult men and male animals appear in 100% of books. No more than 33% contain central characters that are adult women or female animals.
-By the 1990s there was almost parity for human characters but still double male animals vs female.
STUDY B: 100 most Popular books from 2017
-3 male characters for every 2 females. Female characters are missing from a fifth of the books ranked.
-Non-human characters were 73% more likely to be male.
-Male animals were more likely to be large, powerful, or predatory, while female animals tended to be smaller and more vulnerable creatures such as birds, cats, and insects.
-Female adults were more often than not shown in caregiving roles, with twice as many female teachers than males. Mothers were present twice as often as fathers.
I am not exactly surprised but I am still disheartened about it all. For the boys that grow up assuming that girls are a niche, with their specific themed books targeted just for them: and for the girls who start internalising the message that the male is the neutral figure that represents all of us, not to mention the effect they have shaping the dreams of being a mum, a teacher or a nurse (nothing wrong with those professions, but there is a reason why girls choose mostly caring *and low paid* roles, because it is what they are constantly shown!)
I knew the above, some of the things factually, some others in my gut when I wrote my book, Mika & Lolo. After my 12 week scan, before knowing if Eric was a boy or a girl, I decided that I would write a bilingual book to directly tackle the problem of stereotypes in children, a book that invited kids to think critically and to question things, a book to broaden their options and choices. It was a long process until the book was in my hands (actually my second kid, Nora, was in my hands beforehand!) but the result makes me proud, and the feedback from both adults and kids reassures me about the need for this kind of book.
We are passionate about kids books, and we have made sure we have a great selection here on the website, some of them are our own kid's favourites (They ask for Simone de Beauvoir every night before going to sleep!) and some others are already in our letter to Santa.
These are some of our recommendations!
- Mika & Lolo: I mean, it would be weird not to recommend it... it's perfect to start conversations, to invite kids to think and question what is given as a fact, to celebrate that each of us are different and we don't need to fit in pre-defined boxes.
- Little people big dreams: beautifully illustrated, short and educational little biographies of women in our history to inspire new generations. Pleasure to read and to look at!
- My first book of feminism (for boys): with short rhymes and simple drawings is a very cute way to introduce your kids to the basics of feminism with messages that they can understand and invite to have conversations. This was also my first book of feminism.
- Good night stories for Rebel Girls. Both for girls and for boys, these books bring up female history characters with nice illustrations so in one page they can admire and realise what a massive (although often silenced) role women played in all different areas. Holding a book full of them is very empowering!
Wild girl is inspirational guide to getting outdoors and having incredible adventures based on Helen's Skelton's own experience and with tips about overcoming your fears. Alongside her inspirational tales are ideas for where readers can find their own wild adventures closer to home.
There are many more in the shop, and many more that we don't have yet but we can't wait to stock! We will be adding more titles with the aim to be the best catered online shop for your feminist books, so if you want to send us the tittes of some of your favourites we will try to have them as well!
Keep on reading on!
This post was originally published in The Feminist Shop