|Image courtesy of gregw via Creative Commons.|
Research shows that even young children can quickly fall into these sex-based stereotypes and prejudices. In honor of celebrating our gender diversity, here are 12 children's picture books that challenge traditional gender roles.
- Ballerino Nate by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. 2006. (32 pgs) Gr. PreK-2.
When Nate discovers dance, he knows he’s found his passion, but his brother’s assertion that “boys don’t dance” causes him to have doubts.
- Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon Coloring Book by Jacinta Bunnell. 2010. (40 pgs) PreK-2.
While actually a coloring book, the diversity of interests by these characters (such as the prince who wants glass slippers) is perfect for celebrating and exploring gender variety.
- The Basket Ball by Esme Raji Codell. 2011. (32 pgs) Gr. Pre-K-2.
When the boys won't let Lulu join their school-yard basketball team, she hosts a "Basket Ball" where girls from all over trade-in ball gowns for b-ball gear & show off their stuff.
- Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola. 1979. (48 pgs) Gr. Pre-K-3.
Oliver has to deal with classmates who harass him because he prefers activities like painting, reading, and dancing, instead of playing sports.
- 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert. 2008. (32 pgs) Gr. 1-5.
Every night, Bailey dreams about dresses. But in the daytime, his parents tell him he shouldn't be thinking about dresses because "You're a boy!" Then Bailey meets someone who is inspired by his passion.
- The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein. 2002. (40 pgs) Gr. K-3.
Because Elmer has different interests than the other male ducks, they taunt him and call him a sissy. When Elmer saves his Papa, the other ducks come to realize that Elmer’s specialness is something to celebrate.
- The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke. 2001. (32 pgs) Gr. Pre-K-3.
King Wilfred teaches his daughter the same knightly skills he taught his sons. But when she turns 16, the King insists on a joust, the winner of which will win Violetta’s hand in marriage. Violetta has other plans.
- Elena's Serenade by Campbell Geeslin. 2004. (40 pgs) Gr. K-4.
A young girl in Mexico wants to be like her papa and become a glassblower, but such things are traditionally only for boys.
- I Look Like a Girl by Shelia Hamanaka. 1999. (32 pgs) Gr. K-3.
Each girl imagines herself a wild animal and dreams about what she can be.
- My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis. 2010. (32 pgs) Gr. PreK-3.
Dyson loves pink, dresses & his tiara. He also likes to climb trees. He's a Princess Boy, and his family loves him exactly as he is.
- The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. 1992. (32 pgs) Gr. Pre-K-3.
Princess Elizabeth rescues her prince, who has been nabbed by a dragon, only to discover she's better off without him.
- William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow. 1985. (32 pgs) Gr. Pre-K-3.
William doesn’t want the train or basketball his dad gives him. He deeply wants a doll. No one understands – some even call him a sissy – until his grandmother steps in.
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