Gender Roles and Children’s Books: Founding Mothers
I’m a huge history nerd. I even have two degrees in American History that I never use to prove it. This week I geeked out when I heard that NPR’s Cokie Roberts adapted her amazing book, Founding Mothers, into an illustrated children’s book. History books for young kids are hard to come by so this was exciting news.
One thing I did note that is probably not terribly surprising is that among my history nerd social media cohort, it was almost exclusively the moms of girls who expressed their excitement about the book. Much like my women’s history courses being filled exclusively with women (or for that matter, needing separate courses for women’s history to even be discussed in a meaningful way), this really bugged me. I completely understand why a mother of a girl would want her daughter to know about the important and often overlooked contributions that women have made to history, but why can’t the moms (and dads) of boys want that too?
I struggle with the whole gender issue a lot trying to raise a boy in a more gender neutral way but who is already naturally drawn to trucks and trains in a way no baby doll or kitchen set can possibly compete with. It’s like Cinderella Ate My Daughter only he’s been eaten by diggers and steam engines. I’m happy that he’s found things he loves to play and build with and I know it could be far worse (please – can he not get into superheroes?). For now, it will have to be enough that Liam will have copies of John, Paul, George & Ben and Founding Mothers on his bookshelf.
- E-family news: The XX/XY Factor – Navigating Gender Differences in Young Children
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