There's No Such Thing as "Boy" or "Girl" Books

"I'm looking for a good book for a ten year old boy..."

Fantastic! There's nothing our booksellers like more than combing through our shelves to find a young reader his next favorite read. We'll ask a few questions—does he prefer fantasy or realistic fiction? How does he feel about historical fiction? Are there any specific topics he loves or hobbies he has?—and then we'll go ahead and start building our recommendations. Every now and then, we'll find what we think is the perfect book. It's got everything he loves, nothing he doesn't, and is brand new so he probably hasn't seen it yet. We'll hand it to the customer, so excited to see what they think, only to have it returned back to us. The problem? The main character is a girl. The cover is too pink. This is a "girl book."

More often than not, this response comes to us not from the kids themselves, but from their parents or grandparents. If there's anything we've learned, it's that kids just want a good story, and while some generally prefer to have a character that they can relate to, it's very rare that they'll refuse a book simply because of the main character. As bestselling author, Shannon Hale said in an article from The Washington Post, "I’ve now asked thousands of kids the same question: 'What kind of books do you like?' They answer: fantasy, funny, comics, mystery, nonfiction, etc. No kid has ever said, 'I like books about boys.'"

Which brings us to the question: why do we care? What is it about books with strong young women as main characters that we think will repel boys? Plenty of young girls read Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid without even once questioning if this was something they were supposed to be reading. They were stories to be enjoyed, and that's all that really mattered. 

It's important for us to recognize that for many people, books are not only a way to escape into another world for awhile, but also some of the first insight they get into how other people experience life. Whether reading about an old man on the other side of the world, a young girl with a disability, or a teenager fifty years into the past, books are an incredible way to gain perspective on the world, and by extension, each other. If we want to foster a generation of not only voracious readers, but also compassionate and understanding people, the best place to start is to let them read what they want. Who knows? Maybe a book about a girl with cancer will inspire a young boy to become a doctor. Maybe a book about a boys' basketball team will encourage a young girl to pursue her dreams of being in the WNBA. Maybe the book set in Africa will foster a love of travel and experiencing the world. But we'll never know if we don't let them try.

The Runaway Princess: (A Graphic Novel) By Johan Troïanowski Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593118405
Availability: Backordered
Published: Random House Graphic - January 21st, 2020

This graphic novel is perfect for new or reluctant readers who enjoy stories about friendship, adventure and magic. It's broken up into three parts with maps, puzzles and interactive pages through out!

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl By Stacy McAnulty Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524767600
Availability: Not Currently In-Store; May require 2-3 days before shipping
Published: Yearling - April 2nd, 2019

Fans of Wonder and Counting by 7s will love this unique and heartwarming debut centered around a resilient 12 year old  who must learn how to survive the challenges of middle school.


Homerooms and Hall Passes By Tom O'Donnell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062872142
Availability: Not Currently In-Store; May require 2-3 days before shipping
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 8th, 2019

"I gave this to a ten year old girl, she came back the very next day raving about how much fun it was! Perfect for fans of Dungeons & Dragons or fantasy in general."

- Sam 


Song for a Whale By Lynne Kelly Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524770266
Availability: Not Currently In-Store; May require 2-3 days before shipping
Published: Yearling - December 31st, 2019

A whale tale about the inability to communicate with those around you, and finding common ground in the struggle to understand different cultures.


The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) By Sayantani DasGupta Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338185713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - January 29th, 2019

A refreshing new series for Rick Riordan fans who enjoy mythology, humor and adventure.


Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers By Margaret Peterson Haddix, Anne Lambelet (Illustrator) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062838384
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - March 3rd, 2020

Fun new series by bestselling author Margaret Haddix, blends suspense, science fiction and real life issues into one epic adventure.

Clean Getaway By Nic Stone Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984892973
Availability: Not Currently In-Store; May require 2-3 days before shipping
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 7th, 2020

Nic Stone's middle grade debut tackles racial inequality and complex family dynamics in a fun road trip adventure. Great for fans of Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson.