Pond Scum: Alan Silberberg
I, Coriander: Sally Gardner

More About Boys and Reading

I posted the other day about Boys, Girls, and Stories, in response to last week's Slate article about how boys and girls differ in what they tend to want from books. I have had some great discussion with people in the comments from that post. This week there are some other related discussions that I wanted to share with you:

  • Sally at All About Children's Books raises some interesting questions about the premise that boys read books mainly for information. She asks where Harry Potter and Spiderman and the Lord of the Rings fit in to this paradigm. She posits that what kids, both boys and girls, want is for books to have plenty of conflict, and concludes that "conflict is still king." What I think is that if you can give boys books that have plenty of facts AND have an interesting, conflict-based plot, then you can get even the most reluctant reader hooked. And that's a great thing.
  • And on the subject of finding great books to keep boys interested, Camille at Book Moot writes about her day spent volunteering at a junior high school library, and recommending books to kids (mostly boys in this case). Not surprisingly, Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief was a big hit with the boys. Camille celebrates, as do I, the upcoming release of the second book in the series, The Sea of Monsters, on April 1st.
  • Back to the Slate article, Tasha at Kids Lit expresses her displeasure with the article's "full attack on librarians and their role in why boys don't like reading." I completely agree with her. The librarians that I know certainly aren't "all pinch-faced women with rulers all set to smack little boy hands."
  • Read Roger also takes exception to the Slate article, because it doesn't speak to its title (Why Boys Like Girls Books), and rather makes the opposite case, with little evidence for either point of view. He concludes that "Bazelon seems defeated by her own question, concluding that boys don't read because we aren't doing enough to publish and promote books they would like: boys' books." Roger also discusses another current controversial article, one by Naomi Wolf critiquing young adult fiction. I'm staying out of that debate, because I haven't read the books discussed, but I do recommend that you read the extensive comments about both articles at Read Roger.