Books, Digital Reading | September 28, 2022

Why Boys Should Read Books About Girls


Boy Reading with Woman

Stories are key in building a better world. Not only how much we read but what we read makes a difference in our learning. While empowering girls through female book characters is important, engaging boys in this material is essential to achieving gender equity. Parents play a key role in supporting this growth. When boys read stories about girls, it can transform how they view their peers for the rest of their lives. 

Sometimes, readers categorize books based on their characters. Books with boy leads are for everyone, but stories where girls are the main characters are often labeled as only for them. This unequal split impacts how women are seen by men. When boys are told that stories about girls are not the books they should read, it suggests that the lives of girls are not worth paying attention to or they do not have anything to learn from those stories. What starts as a negative perspective can reflect how boys see and treat girls for years to come.

Creating a more equitable world means adapting what we learn, especially when we are young. Through family reading and guidance, it’s possible to gain the valuable benefits of raising your child with inclusive stories. By encouraging your boy to read books with inspiring female characters, they’ll learn early-on to respect and celebrate girls’ wisdom, strength, and power.

Creating a fair future

Reading a narrow range of books, especially ones without girls, contributes to oppression and discrimination. Men may be more likely to only view women in specific roles, leading to harmful stereotypes. To fight these limited definitions of gender, we can use books to encourage representation and inclusivity for everyone.

Reading widely can increase respect for women, empower them, and reduce toxic masculinity. Books about dynamic characters of different genders frees the reader as well, as they can express themselves and their passions more openly. Boys who read and have continued education are more likely to condemn gender-based violence. They also have an increased chance of treating women and men equally, and supporting gender equality. When boys read about girls, we can create a more fair future.

Promoting empathy and understanding through reading

Reading is known to promote empathy and enhance social-emotional skills. By learning about other people’s experiences, children become more compassionate of the people around them. This is also seen when boys read books about girls. These inclusive stories help young readers think about people different from them and how they feel. They ask questions, and grow up to be more caring about their peers. This heightened understanding of each other can aid in establishing a world of co-creation, recognition, and mutual appreciation.

In a world where not all people are treated equally, nurturing kind and compassionate children is crucial. Promoting books about girls to boys can change how women are viewed, fostering collaboration and communication as more people are raised with empathy.

How to encourage reading about different characters

Inspiring boys to read books about girls is amazing and achievable. Children love stories – the adventure usually matters more than the characters. Here are some tips to get your boy reading books about girls:

  • Take advantage of the genre. When children want to read, they choose books that interest them. They can be fantasy, science, mystery – they can be about superheroes or secret agents. Whether the story is about a girl or a boy, if it’s entertaining, it’s enjoyable!
  • Encourage reading a wide range of books – including audiobooks. Introduce your child to a variety of different ideas, characters, and backgrounds. Children enjoy connecting with experiences, even if the people don’t look alike! Our BookSmart app offers a ton of great book options. However, telling children what to read can be counterproductive when advocating for them to read. Make sure to motivate your child and not pressure them.
  • Read together as a family. Uplift positive perspectives by reading together with your child. If they are young enough, change the pronouns in books when they are not relevant to the story. Don’t make them feel bad for wanting to read a certain book, and be supportive of their curiosity. Using play-based activities, like those in the BookSmart app, will make reading fun even for those who struggle with books.

Books do not have to be separated by gender. Boys refusing to read about girls is a learned behavior, just as gender inequity is. To make the world a kinder, more compassionate, and equitable place, help children learn the value of all stories.

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