Although it’s difficult to get any child to read, the boys’ market particularly challenges publishers. According to The Washington Post, girls are more willing to try a broad range of genres while boys tend to be more picky.
Michael Sullivan, author of Connecting Boys with Books, offered this observation in the article: “Boys feel far more uncertain about their reading than girls do, so they’re less likely to take a chance. Studies show that psychologically, boys are known for overestimating their abilities in many areas. The one area where boys consistently underestimate their abilities is in reading.”
One factor publishers should take care on is cover design; inserting humor can really attract a young male audience. Two examples include the Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Another way to grab both girl and boy fans is by writing stories with empowering lead characters; Harry Potter and The Hunger Games enjoy great popularity with both gender groups.
Last year, psychology professor Dr. Robert Weis spoke with the Wall Street Journal on this subject, but his advice was directed at parents. Weis recommended limiting a boy’s daily access to electronic media and providing a good environment for reading. That means giving them a quiet space and a good selection of books.