What Makes Something a “Boy Book”?

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, mentioned in today’s Publishers Lunch. It should come as no surprise to anyone in publishing or education that getting boys to read can be tricky, partly (as the researcher suggests) because the books we tend to push on them in school are heavily skewed toward girl readers. The fact that publishing and education are both fields where women outnumber men 9 to 1 doesn’t fully explain this subconcious bias, because I’ve been guilty of it as a teacher myself. One year for my sixth grade class I inadvertently picked all novels featuring young girl protagonists, and didn’t realize what I’d done until a parent pointed it out. I’m not sure I agree that a “boy-friendly” book has to be gross. I think plot, humor and action are a lot more important, although as a male reader, I certainly don’t mind a little grossness now and then. Still, this article is definitely worth a read!

Rick Riordan