Wow, there were a lot of feelings out there about the whole books & boys & girls thing I stepped into. It's such charged material. I tried to write about what I felt I was seeing: fewer people are offering suggestions for the boy in a We Recommend, books seem more skewed female in their appeal.
I never wanted to be the kind of person who picked up Charlotte's Web (heaven forfend) or Little House in the Big Woods and said, "This is for girls." But then there is the world I see around me, where boys don't so much read those, don't even seem to want to, and all around them (and us) swirl the different forces: people saying to read the classics, or to read only what seems appealing at first glance, or to read (or don't read) nonfiction. It's all so big.
At any rate, I decide I wanted to try to find my way to a positive viewpoint (wherever that might be) and report from there.
And here's what I'll tell you: the good news is that there's a series of books that has been coming up lately that appeals equally to boys and girls. The bad news? It's this:
These are not books I love. There is something way too over-the-top about the language, with RavenPaw and the clans and ThunderWhiskers or whatever. Apparently they're written by a bunch of rotating writers, with ideas from the editor, if Wikipedia is to be trusted. This will not surprise you when you read them. But oh boy, do kids I know—especially the geeky endearing ones—love these, and it is one of the few series that seems to pull from both genders.
What is it about warring clans of cats they find so compelling? I don't know, but I was at the library with a very nice 10-year-old boy who just touched the cover reverently, and said "This one is my next one." This young man is someone who in the past had a strong affection for books that are even less fun for parents to get involved in (Pokémon and Star Wars novels, anyone?). Not to mention Diana and her entire circle of friends, who have created a long and complicated pretend world in which they've created their own clans.
And so, I just need to get over whatever aversion I have for that weird The Ten Commandments-type language, and happily welcome them into my world. Because if they can reach through all the miles and pounds of bullshit that separate 10 year old boys and girls from each other, then they are a power to be respected.