Wednesday Blurb: Tripping over Boys and Reading

If you saw today’s Washington Post, you know that Valerie Tripp is creating a new series for boys called Boys Camp.

We know Valerie Tripp “well” in our house, as she authored many of the American Girl books we have. Truth be told, visiting the American Girl booth at BookExpo America is always fun and I look forward to seeing Ms. Tripp each year. But I digress …

I hope you will read Monica Hesse’s full article,  but for those short on time, here are some wonderful  soundbites:

  • The scaretistics are quoted a lot, and at first glance, they don’t look good: Boys can’t read. Boys can read but won’t. Boys would read, if they thought there was anything out there that was worth reading. Boys find stuff they think is worth reading, but it’s all about captains of underpants. And farts.
  • In libraries, the young-reader section is gloriously filled with moody covers depicting teenage girls falling in love with werewolves — but considerably fewer of boys falling in love with banshees.
  • Historically, “the problem was that boys were just seen as bad versions of girls,” says Jon Sciezka, a former schoolteacher turned author and, through the site, male-reading advocate. [sidebar: she forgot award-winning author!!]
  • Depicting the reality of childhood — slugging, noogies, warts and all — is necessary to draw in young readers, whose baloney detectors are notoriously refined, and who can almost always taste the vitamin mixed in with the pudding.
  • Often the books that most appeal to male kids are literally discounted: Parents mistakenly believe that sci-fi books don’t count as reading, that gross-out books don’t count as reading, that nonfiction books crammed with football statistics don’t count as reading.

I can’t pick a favorite quote … how ’bout you. Does one of these – or another point in the article – resonate with you?