6 Children’s Books that Redefine Gender Stereotypes

Ever consider how messages in a book have an influence on children? Find out what some of these books convey about stereotyping.  

Books are arguably one of the first things that children are exposed to that genuinely have the potential to impact their futures. Books have the power to shape children’s views on almost anything, including their own gender identities, and their perceptions of what they can go on to achieve as a result of their “prescribed gender”. So surely what goes into these books, and therefore what our children are exposed to, is important, right?

Here’s six children’s books that strive to challenge the stereotypical gender roles that are enforced all too often…

Ballerino Nate by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley 

We’ve all heard of Angelina Ballerina, but what about Ballerino Nate? Teased by his brother about being the only boy in his ballet class, Nate starts to doubt his passion for dance until he sees a professional performance and meets the male star of the show. This is an inspiring story teaching boys and ballerinas alike that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

By day, Rosie is shy and quiet, but by night she’s an intrepid inventor, designing and creating all sorts of gadgets and gizmos, who dreams of becoming an engineer. When she finds out that her aunt’s dream to fly is as yet unfulfilled, she sets about making her dream come true. This book serves as a great reminder that anything boys can do, girls can do too.

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman

When Jacob wants to wear a dress to school, he has some trouble trying to convince his parents and his schoolmates that it’s okay. This story uniquely tells of the distinct struggles faced by children who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.

Princesses Can Be Pirates too by Christi Zellerhoff

Just because princesses wear pink dresses and golden crowns, it doesn’t mean that they can’t make just as good a pirate as any boy. Even the daintiest of all princesses can captain a crew. This empowering and hilarious tale reminds girls that they can have the best of both worlds, and be feisty and fabulous at the same time.

Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz

Raffi is unlike the other boys in his class: he’s shy, and doesn’t enjoy their rough and tumble games. Raffi likes to knit, which often makes him the subject of the other children’s ridicule. But when the Prince doesn’t have a costume in the school play, it’s Raffi that saves the day.

Madam President by Lane Smith

Young Katie imagines what life would be like if she were President, and decides on all the rules she would put in place with her newfound power. This book is a witty encouragement for children of all genders to dream big.

What do you think? Do you agree that children’s books can and do have an impact on children’s perception of gender, and should therefore teach them to open and accepting? Or are they simply make-believe stories that shouldn’t be taken so seriously? Join the debate in the comments below.

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