Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1976


During the past several years, articles have been appearing in the women's magazines and in educational journals which have told of the meager or negative portrayal of females to be found in books for the youngest children. During 1973 and 1974, in preparation for a workshop concerning female roles in literature, I searched libraries for books which feature females. In addition, I contacted 21 major publishers and asked for such books. Twelve publishers kindly allowed me to examine all the books they considered to be appropriate—that is, books which would have female protagonists. After my visits to countless libraries and bookstores and the arrival of the publishers' books, it turned out that I had fewer than 100 books to choose from. Some of the publishers had sent books from the mid-sixties and called them recent. Others had sent books in which females had auxiliary roles or shared lead roles with males. Some even sent books in which the females were animals or machines!

Thus, it seems, publishers are still very hesitant to publish books with females as main characters, probably basing their resistance upon the studies which have shown that boys are unwilling to read so-called "girls'" books, while girls are quite willing to read the so-called "boys'" books.



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