Bid to axe boys’ and girls’ books resisted by publisher

A children’s book publisher is resisting pressure to get rid of its individual books for boys and girls, saying the sexes are “definitely different”.

Buster Books has sold half a million copies of The Beautiful Girls’ Colouring Book, as well as publishing The Brilliant Boys’ Colouring Book and sticker books for boys and girls.

But parent-run campaign, Let Books Be Books, says such publications are “limiting and restrictive”.

Ignore

While Buster Books has resisted the pressure, other publishers including Parragon Books say they will not “create new titles referring to boy/girl in the UK”.

Author Philip Pullman, bookshop Waterstones and the Independent on Sunday have also expressed support for the initiative.

But Buster Books’ owner commented: “All boys don’t like one thing and all girls the other, but the fact is lots of boys like the same things and lots of girls like the same things.

“We can’t ignore the fact that they are definitely different.”

Careful

“It’s a fact of life how a very large percentage of people shop when buying for kids, do it by sex.

“We know for a fact that when they are shopping on Amazon, they quite often type in ‘books for boys’ and ‘books for girls'”, Michael O’Mara, whose company owns Buster Books, said.

O’Mara said his company was “keeping a very careful eye” on the ‘sensitive’ issue, but would continue with the categories.

Flowers

The Let Books Be Books campaign launched a petition against publishers on World Book Day, saying children “should have the freedom to read about or colour in robots, fairies, pirates or flowers, without publishers telling them otherwise”.

Last week Usborne Books said it had decided “some time ago” that it would “discontinue publication” of individual boys’ and girls’ books.

The publisher commented that it has “no plans to produce any titles labelled ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’ in the future”.

Toys

Let Books Be Books is part of a wider campaign which is fighting against sex-specific labels in toy shops, called Let Toys Be Toys.

It has already persuaded retailers including Marks and Spencer and Debenhams to get rid of boys’ and girls’ labels.

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