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 Authors: Jodi Putnam with Judith A. Myers-Walls and Dee Love

Books for Parents and Childcare Providers

A more complete listing of books for parents is available on the Internet.

 Beyond Dolls and Guns: 101 Ways to Help Children Avoid Gender Bias
Susan Hoy Crawford
The author offers tips and suggestions for parents and teachers about how to have nonsexist interactions with children. In addition to behavioral suggestions, the author lists relevant toys, books, and videos for children about avoiding gender stereotypes.

 Growing a Girl: Seven Strategies for Raising a Strong, Spirited Daughter
Barbara Mackoff

The author gives parents advice on how to raise daughters and avoid gender stereotypes that often begin at infancy. The author addresses the importance of providing girls with positive female role models, encouraging girls in math and science, and nurturing girls’ competence and self-reliance.

 Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
Daniel J. Kindlon and Michael Thompson
These authors address the need for helping boys to develop their emotions. The authors believe it is important to redefine masculinity to include acceptance of emotions and self-care. They provide suggestions for parents, teachers, and society to better understand boys and to teach them to become more aware and accepting of their emotions.

Books for Children

 Free To Be …You and Me
Marlo Thomas and Carol Hart

This is a collection of stories, poems, pictures, and songs that encourage children to be whatever they want to be. The author believes that each family is the right kind of family and does not pass judgment on families that provide nurturance, love, and support. The stories and songs are fun for children and families to share together. This book has been a favorite of families for years!

 William’s Doll
Charlotte Zolotow

William wants a doll to love, care for, and nurture. However, his brothers and father think this is silly, and they try to interest him in basketballs and train sets. Although William likes these things, he still really wants a doll. Finally, when his grandmother comes to visit she buys him a doll. Grandmother explains to William’s father and brothers that William needs this doll so he can learn how to be a good father some day.

 Father Gander Nursery Rhymes
Father Gander

These fun nursery rhymes are the same Mother Goose nursery rhymes we knew as children. However, Father Gander has rewritten several verses of the nursery rhymes so as to remove the violence, racial discrimination, and gender stereotypes.
One example is:
   “Jack, be nimble! Jack, be quick!
   Jack, jump over the candlestick!
   Jill, be nimble! Jump it, too!
   If Jack can do it, so can you.”

 The Snuggle Bunny
Nancy Jewell

This children’s book is about a male bunny that is looking for someone to love him and to cuddle him. The bunny finally finds a female bunny that needs his love as much as he needs her love. The two bunnies become friends who care for one another. The story teaches children that both boys and girls need love and affection.

 Rosie and Michael
Judith Viorst

This story talks about friends who like each other for many different reasons. Rosie likes Michael when he’s dopey and when he’s smart. Michael likes Rosie when she’s grouchy and when she’s nice. This story teaches children that they can behave in many different ways and not just in ways that they are “supposed” to act because they are a boy or a girl.

 My Grandson Lew
Charlotte Zolotow

In this story, a boy and his mother remember the special love and affection of the boy’s grandfather. The grandfather gave lots of hugs and kisses, and he used kind words to tell the boy and his mother how much he loved them. This story teaches children that males can be loving and nurturing.

 Little Fox Goes to the End of the World
Ann Tompert

Little Fox dreams of traveling the world. She tells her mother of her adventure and how she will tame wild animals, hike through large mountains, and sail across the sea. This story teaches children that girls can be adventurous and daring. Little Fox is a brave girl who dreams of going on an active cross-country adventure.

 Hug Me
Patti Stren

Elliot is a porcupine who is longing for a hug. With his long, sharp quills he has a hard time finding anyone that will hug him. He tries to hug poles, lights, and parking meters but these things do not hug him back. Finally he meets Thelma, a female porcupine, who wants a hug too. The two porcupines become friends who shar gentle hugs with one another. This story teaches children that both boys and girls want and need hugs.

 Go and Hush the Baby
Betsy Byars

Will’s mother is busy painting a picture when Will’s baby brother starts to cry. Mother asks Will to comfort his brother. Will tries many creative ways to calm his brother. Baby brother enjoys Will’s attempts so much that he starts to cry every time Will leaves him. This story teaches children that boys can be nurturing towards siblings and can help their parents to care for their brothers and sisters.

Read books you already have

Look at the books in your own library. Complete the following checklist to see if you have a variety of books that show men and women in many different roles. The checklist will help you decide if you need to add more books about boys or girls. Or you could see if you could use the books to teach children about the variety of things boys and girls can do. You can also use the checklist to recognize gender stereotypes and discuss them with children.

   1. Who are the most important characters in the story? Are they male or female? What qualities do these characters
   2. Are the characters people you want your children to model?
   3. How many pictures show men? How many pictures show women? How many pictures show girls?  How many pictures
      show boys?
   4. How many pictures show active girls? How many pictures show active boys?
   5. How many pictures show quiet girls? How many pictures show quiet boys?
   6. Does the story show women in “female roles”? How? What roles do they play?
   7. Does the story show men in “male roles”? How? What roles do they play?

For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at

Please feel free to link to, print off, redistribute, or reprint
  any of these materials as long as the original credits remain intact.

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