Children’s Books Authors Protest Against Assigning Genders to Books

By Maryann Yin Comment

Gayle Forman, E. Lockhart, and Libba Bray appeared together at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe last week. The trio of young adult authors were celebrating the release of Forman’s new book, I Was Here. When they first presented themselves to the audience, the three women were wearing fake mustaches.

Forman explained that they were protesting against the act of driving young boys away from titles that are considered to be “girl books.” The group strongly agrees with the sentiments that fellow novelist Shannon Hale expresses in a recent blog post. Hale felt compelled to discuss this because of her recent experience during a school visit where only female students were given permission to meet her. Below, we’ve collected several of the writers’ tweets with their opinions on this subject in a Storify post.

Here’s an excerpt from Hale’s blog post: “Let’s be clear: I do not talk about ‘girl’ stuff. I do not talk about body parts. I do not do a ‘Your Menstrual Cycle and You!’ presentation. I talk about books and writing, reading, rejections and moving through them, how to come up with story ideas. But because I’m a woman, because some of my books have pictures of girls on the cover, because some of my books have ‘princess’ in the title, I’m stamped as ‘for girls only.’ However, the male writers who have boys on their covers speak to the entire school.”