Gender Imbalance in Children’s Books

Recently there have been a few articles written about the lack of female characters in children’s books. One article published by The Guardian, says “The messages conveyed through representation of males and females in books contribute to children’s ideas of what it means to be a boy, girl, man, or woman.” Thus, it is important to present positive images of females in children’s books.

A study, led by Janice McCabe, a professor of sociology at Florida State University, looked at almost 6,000 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000, and found that males were central characters in 57% of children’s books published each year, with just 31% having female central characters. Male animals are central characters in 23% of books per year, the study found, while female animals star in only 7.5%.

To make matters worse, even in modern classics many of the male and female characters are stereotypical and out-of-date.

While there may be more children’s books directed at male audiences, there are some great books for girls out there as well. The website http://www.amightygirl.com/ has some great book ideas to share!

Read the full article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/may/06/gender-imbalance-children-s-literature

 

12 days of Holiday Books for Children

The CFL is getting ready for the holidays by compiling a list of our favorite holiday books for kids! Whether reading to a child about your own traditions, or exposing them to different ways of celebrating the holidays, reading together is a great way to have fun and get into the holiday spirit!

The 12 Days of Holiday Books:

1 ) A Porcupine in a Pine Tree- A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas, by Helaine Becker

2 ) Bear Stays up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson and Jan Brett

3 ) Happy Hanukkah Corduroy, by Don Freeman

4 ) The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg

5 ) Seven Spools of Thread- A Kwanzaa Story, by Angela Shelf Medearis

6 ) How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss

7 ) A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

8 ) The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore

9 ) The Latke who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, by Lemony Snicket

10 ) The Mitten, by Jan Brett

11 ) Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas, by Melanie Watt

12 ) The Little Fir Tree, by Margaret Wise Brown

What are your favorite books to read during the holidays?

A New Font to Help with Dyslexia:

A new, free font has been created to help people with dyslexia read online content. The font, called OpenDyslexic, contains characters with “heavy-weighted bottoms” that prevent the letters from flipping and moving around for the dyslexic reader.

OpenDyslexic, created by Abelardo Gonzalez, has recently been built into a word processor, an ebook reader, and has been installed on school computers.  Similar fonts had been previously available, but their high cost made them relatively inaccessible.

Gonzalez has stated, “The response has been great. I’ve had people emailing saying this is the first time they could read text without it looking wiggly or it has helped with other symptoms of dyslexia.”

You can download the font and learn more at www.dyslexicfonts.com/

Community Volunteers Improve Children’s literacy:

National Literacy Trust, a charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the United Kingdom, recently published a study that showed community volunteers can improve how parents and caregivers support their children’s early literacy development.

The study involved over 1500 families and used peer volunteers to increase families’ confidence in supporting positive literacy attitudes and behaviors. Volunteers took part in six weekly sessions with an assigned family, and it showed vast improvements in literacy development.

  • 84% of parents felt that the project would have a long-term impact on their child’s reading and communication skills
  • 100% felt more confident in attending literacy activities, with more than half saying that they would not have been able to attend without the help of their volunteer
  • 52% showed an improved engagement with books
  • 46% showed improved speaking and listening skills

Volunteering your time to help parents synthesize their children’s literacy skills is both fun and rewarding! Activities can include a family visit to a local library for story time or play groups, singing and rhyming together, or even just reading a book together! Opportunities are endless!

To read the full study, go to http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/news/4726