Long time squeetusers know I cringe a bit whenever someone designates a book as "for girls" or "for boys." I've talked about this issue here, and here, and here, among other places. In essence, what I oppose is how we all (parents, readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, kids, friends) have a tendency to recommend any book of interest to a girl reader, but to a boy we tend to only recommend books by guys about guys. We're raising boys to not be interested in female protagonists. Suggesting that learning about, understanding, and having empathy for girls is beneath them. I could go on about this for HOURS but I'll resist.
Now, are you familiar with Guys Read? I first heard Jon Scieszka--former educator, current writer, and eternal guy--speak about this in 2005 when I'd just released Princess Academy. He'd noticed that the majority of people telling kids to read are women. (i'm paraphrasing, and hopefully correctly) Teachers and librarians tend to be women, and mothers tend to be readers more than fathers. So we say "reading is important! you should read!" but if only women are saying this, boys get the message that reading is really only for girls. He started a movement to get more guys visibly talking about reading, as well as gathering wonderful lists of books that guys might enjoy.
When I was writing those blog posts about girls and boys reading all kinds of books, I made a clarification: "I love the Guys Read campaign. With the majority of educators being women, we need more visible male reading role models." I didn't want anyone to take my comments as a condemnation of that wonderful program.
Funny enough, Jon contacted me that same day, without even seeing that note about Guys Read I'd just posted, to ask me to contribute a short story to their next anthology. And it published in the US today! This anthology focuses on science fiction and fantasy short stories, featuring such authors as Rebecca Stead, Neal Shusterman, Rick Riordan, Tom Angleberger, and Ray Bradbury. And myself. You can purchase it at your local bookstore. You can also buy the entire hardcover or paperback online or download just my story, "Bouncing the Grinning Goat," anywhere ebooks are sold. I'm reading it with my 9 year old now and the stories are just great. Here's to guys reading!