Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not a News Flash. And OctoberPalooza Continues: Amplified by Tara Kelly

     I'm attending an event on October 30th. It's called The Why Chromosome: Why Boys Do Love Books. I am excited about this event because a number of amazing authors will be there and they will be talking about this issue. It is also important because Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop is hosting, and they are an independent bookstore.
     Not a news flash: boys do read. Andrew Smith talks about this, and I look forward to hearing more from him and authors G.Neri, Greg Van Eekhout, Allen Zadoff, Jonathan Auxier, and John Stevens at this event.
     I know boys read because they check out books from my classroom library. One of my boys asked today if he could check out more than one, and I handed him a pile. I did an informal, non-scientific survey of my informal, non-scientific check-out system(pieces of scratch paper) and right now I have more boys reading books than girls.
     Today one of my boys gave me a special boxed copy of The Hunger Games, because he said that he thought I would like it.  I didn't well up or get weepy in front of him, because he would have been horrified and I only cry when I read Andrew Smith or Sara Zarr books, anyway.
     Not a news flash: Boys are sensitive. And kind. 
     Not a news flash: Boys are human beings.
     A long time ago I was assigned to teach a class called Developmental Reading. It was all boys and one girl.  There were no good books. There were things posing as books, but  I felt stupid when I looked at them in the storage room. I felt stupid because the book basically  said If You Are Reading This You Must Be Stupid. Or a Boy.
    I left them in the storage room.
    We read a lot of different things. I probably learned more than my students did. I learned that if you want kids to read you don't put them in a class called Developmental Reading. I learned that kids can go through ten years of school with undiagnosed problems. I learned that if I asked a direct question I got an honest answer.
   We had a lot of conversations I still remember.
   Not a news flash: Boys read good books. They may not want to read the same books as girls. They are not girls. They are boys.
   Newsflash! If we stop condescending to boys about reading we would all be better off.

   **Comment/follow to win a copy of Tara Kelly's newest: Amplified!


  1. So very well put. It makes me happy to know there are teachers like you out there. Keep it up.

    Oh, and my boys (or boy, or girl, or girls; hey, we don't HAVE them just yet; and by have them, I mean naturally, of course, and I thought I needed to clarify that, so as not to draw attention) will be primed for breaking social constructs/stereotypes. Plus, if I have my way and name him or her Madmartigan, they will be equipped with book AND sword. But only if they so choose. :)

  2. Thanks, Non. Your comment means a great deal to me. Madmartigan is/will be a lucky child. Options! Yay!

  3. You are welcome! Thanks again for STICK.

  4. Madmartigan was a great swordsman.

    Newflash: this post rules.

  5. Super cool post. As a mom to both a boy and girl (both of whom love reading!), I just LOVE this entire thing. And yes, my son and daughter, generally, enjoy very different stories. Thanks for the not a news flash. :-)

  6. I definitely have to agree with Matthew Macnish, "Newsflash: this post rules". What you say is so true. I've met plenty of boys who read, and many others who don't. But, that doesn't change the fact that boys do read. Perhaps this assumption is based on the fact that there are far more YA fiction books aimed toward girls than there are boys. And, that I've noticed, many more female authors writing YA fiction than there are male authors. Not to say that boys are scared of reading books written by girls. Just that most books written by girls can be very, well...girly. Most of my favorite series are written by male authors. Including the "Gone" series by Michael Grant, "The Power of Five" series by Anthony Horowitz, "Rot & Ruin" by Jonathan Maberry, and the "Uglies" series by Scott Westerfeld.

  7. I love this blog post. I agree with everything you've said here about boys and appreciate that you've spotlighted it.

  8. Matthew, indeed he was! Gosh I love that movie.

  9. Excellent post! I have been trying to get writers to see that boys need great stories. Especially middle grade boys.I have six boys. I am writing a boy middle grade novel.

    You rock and understand boys so well. Thank you for this post. It is so cool. :-)

  10. Non, do you know Le R? The Rejectionist? She loves Willow more than I do, which is a lot, and her avatar is General Kael.

    And Kristen, your blogger profile update worked.

  11. Excellent post! As a mother to a well read boy, it's refreshing to see a teacher take an interest.
    In our small (and small minded) school, the boys have very limited choices in reading material. They thought they were being pro-active when they allowed a 'few' Star Wars books on the shelves. They have no idea what the boys want to read and are NOT open to suggestion.
    Thankfully, our sons bookshelves and Kindle are well stocked but not so for all the boys in his school.
    We could use someone like you in this sleepy close minded little town!

  12. Always glad to see people mentioning this, especially with evidence. Saying that boys won't read is a self-fulfilling prophecy if it's repeated too often and too hard, just like saying boys don't like pink and boys won't talk about their feelings. Thank you :)

  13. Great post. I just recently had a couple boys read a draft of my MG novel and I'm really excited about the response they gave. It made me see my wip in a new way.