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Children's Books

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  • Children's Books

    For my Sociology of Gender class, I will be writing a gender neutral story for kids. I kind of have an idea already, but since it is going to be what Iam doing in place of a 12 page research paper, and thus worth lots and lots of points, I want to be thorough. I am doing research on different children's books, but of course, I am not a child and have not been one in a while, and I can only remember the children's books that I read. I don't know all of them that are out there.

    So here is why I am posting. If anyone can remember books that they read or had read to them when they were in kindergarten through 4th or 5th grade (so 5-10ish years old) and can post the title and author, it would be fantastic. Even if you can only remember one or the other, it would be helpful. And they don't even have to have anything to do with the topic.

    I am likely going to go in a fantasy direction, since there is a lot you can do there with genders and without genders there. But I just need some variety and examples so that I can see length, language used, images, concepts and all that fun stuff. It may not be going for real little kids, but that doesn't mean that I am not going to put any less effort in it. And who knows, maybe if it is any good, I will send it out.

    It is not due until near the end of the semester, but I am trying to get a head start and get some reading in because, after all, who doesn't want to read these kinds of books again?

  • #2
    Picture Books? Or Novel(la)s? And what does it mean by "gender neutral"? The characters aren't identified as a gender?

    Several of these, particularly the younger ones (i.e. picture books) are Australian ones, so I don't know if you would have come across them, or if they are available. They are also in no particular order.
    • Possum Magic, Mem Fox
    • Animalia and The Sign of the Sea Horse by Graeme Base
    • The Secret Ocean by... I can't remember
    • Lots of Enid Blyton. Starting with the Faraway Tree, Wishing Chair and Noddy books, and then into the Secret Seven, Famous Five, Adventurous Four, Adventure series etc. as I got older
    • The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings
    • Narnia
    • Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew
    • Magic Beach (and others) by Alison Lester
    • Dr. Suess books
    • Picture books associated with: Cabbage Patch Kids, Pound Puppies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and other 80s toy phenomenons)
    • Lots of Disney Book-and-Tapes (usually adaptations from movies)
    • The Wierdstone of Brisingamen, by Alan Garner (and its sequel, the Moon of Gomrath)
    • The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
    • The Young Jedi Knights books by Kevin J. Anderson

    That's all that I can remember at the moment. From there I "graduated" into fantasy books and pretty much went straight into the upper end of young adult fantasy and the adult ones. Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Ooh, I love the Rainbow Fish.

      I think she means books that can be read to either gender. Ones that aren't about fairy princesses or fighting robots.

      I LOVED The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It creeped me out because I felt sorry for the tree, but it's very good.

      Read lots of poetry for children, it'll give you ideas for subjects and lots of poems are fantasy-related. brain isn't in a very productive mood right now, so that's pretty much it.
      Last edited by estar9821; August 19, 2011, 10:20:23 AM.
      "This will look great next to my restraining order from Leonard Nimoy!" ~ Sheldon, Big Bang Theory


      • #4
        I read the Berenstein Bears chapter books when I was little. They were amazing, but they've gone out of print now.
        The first three books of the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce.
        Harry Potter.
        His Dark Materials (Golden Compass, Subtle Knife, Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman.
        What else... *goes pulls out boxes of books from childhood*
        The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.
        Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal.
        A bunch of Mary-Kate and Ashley books.
        The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes.
        The Baby-Sitters Club: Little Sister by Anne A. Martin.
        The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.
        Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

        Man, I read a lot of girly books. There may have been others, but if there is, I got rid of them, or I didn't include them because they were stand alones or with one sequel. Hope this helps!
        Last edited by crazy_bookworm; March 11, 2010, 08:43:15 PM. Reason: for clarity
        I stand tall, proud, brave, straight, and strong.
        Fairest and Fallen, greetings and defiance.
        ~Book junkie~


        • #5
          A summary of my very favorite picture books...
          The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, by Don Wood
          , by David Legge
          Magic School Bus books by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan
          The Great Pie Robbery, by Richard Scarry
          The Eleventh Hour and Animalia, by Graeme Base
          Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
          Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
          The Crash-Up Smash-Up Derby by Tres Seymour and S.D. Schindler (a favorite of my brother's which somehow matched mine)
          Someone mentioned the Rainbow Fish, but much more interesting (if not well-loved) is Milo and the Magical Stones or Milo and the Mysterious Island, which had mix-and-match multiple endings.

          Chapter books and beyond:
          Boxcar Children (the first eighteen are the originals by Gertrude Chandler Warner, when they weren't ghost-written yet)
          Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne (which has multiplied exponentially)
          A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy (which was not allowed to multiply)
          Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sebol
          Trixie Belden by Julie Campbell
          Enid Blyton books
          Roald Dahl books
          The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill
          Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky (which ended, finally!)
          Phantom Stallion by Terri Farley (Yes, a horse phase, along with a mystery phase, and before that, the dinosaur phase...)
          Dinoverse by Scott Ciencin (the only satisfactory series I found on dinosaurs after I started reading chapter books, and it was pretty strange at that)

          Alla, did you read the Malory Towers books, by Enid Blyton? I haven't come across them in a casual way in the States, but I had a teacher from India who lent them to me.


          • #6
            I'll do as Dorotheia did, and separate the categories:

            Picture Books:
            • Magic School Bus books
            • Garfield and Charlie Brown comic book-type things
            • The Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown
            • Goodnight Moon (also by Margaret Wise Brown, I think)
            • The Runaway Bunny (yet another Margaret Wise Brown)
            • The Runaway Road (I cannot remember the author, it's been a while) (Never mind, I found my copy, it's written by Stan Mack)
            • Pip of Weeville by Jean L. Matus
            • The Magic Pencil, by Scapa
            • Giants Come In Different Sizes, by "Jolly Roger Bradfield"
            • Winnie-The-Pooh books
            • Dr. Seuss books

            (Looking through the these books, which I actually still have my original copies of, I notice that all of them except the Magic School Bus and comic books are from the 60s - 80s. I hadn't known that they were that old! Some of those books are old enough to have been my mother's picture books!)

            Chapter Books:

            • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Great Glass Elevator, by Roald Dahl.
            • Matilda, by Roald Dahl.
            • Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary
            • Operation Melody by Denise Ortman Pomeraning (This was my all-time favorite chapter book; I read that thing until it fell to pieces and had to be scotch-taped together.)
            • Boxcar Children books, by (or created by) Gertrude Chandler Warner
            • Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys books by Mildred Wirt Benson (Carolyn Keene)
            • Choose Your Own Adventure-type stories, by various authors
            • Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks
            • Primrose Day (and other books) by Carolyn Haywood
            • Magic School Bus Chapter Books
            • The Week Mom Unplugged the TVs, by Terry Wolfe Phelan
            • Beany Goes To Camp, by Susan Wojciechowski
            • The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis
            • The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne
            • Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol.

            And I know there are lots more, but I'll probably find them sometime else
            Dif-tor heh smusma.


            • #7
              I don't remember picture books very well, though I'm recognizing ones other people are mentioning however, just chapter books. Many of the books I'm listing are older books, as what stood out most of what I read was what my mom had also liked as a kid. I will also edit this later, as right now my boyfriend is dragging me off for food, but this includes most of my immediate reactions. I can also come up with some other books which I enjoyed but more classics seemed slightly more relevant to start with as well as being the ones which came to mind.

              -Roald Dahl books in general
              -Boxcar Children
              -Nancy Drew
              -The Phantom Tollbooth (was suprised nobody mentioned that yet)
              -The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
              -E. Nesbit books (most famous is Five Children and It)
              -The original Winnie the Pooh books
              -Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
              -The Hobbit (and I read Lord of the Rings by that age, but I don't think that quite should be added to the list)
              -The Wind in the Willows
              -Anne of Green Gables
              -The Secret Garden
              We will remember you PM. And your little GingerBear.


              • #8
                I've seen a lot of books already on the list...some of which I'm surprised people have read (no offense) I didn't know anybody else on the planet had read them.....and also a few of my favorites...the Phantom Tollbooth, The Gaurdians of Ga'Hoole, and many others.....which means that I can't think of that many of the top of my head...
                • books by Wendy Mass (Every Soul A Star, 11 Birthdays, A Mango Shaped Space)
                • books by Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted-NOT the movie-, The Princess Tales, Ever, Fairest)
                • Warriors, by Erin Hunter-This is a LONG series, but the only good ones are the first series

                ummmmmmmmm.............I can't think of any brain is fried and dead...maybe more later
                All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened. And after you are finished reading one you feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and the sorrow, the people and the places, and how the weather was.


                • #9
                  Oh goodness you guys are amazing.
                  Its going to be a short book, so I will probably draw more from picture books. I pretty much just need to get a good idea of how to tell the story in a way similar to other books for young children.
                  And estar's description of gender neutral is pretty accurate. In my class we are looking at how the media and toys and books perpetuate gender roles, such as girls being helpless, weak, princesses who only find fulfillment when they meet their prince; and boys receiving most of the fun roles and being adventurous and brave, independent and valued. Think fairy tales, and go opposite.
                  My teacher said that she read a book once where the main characters were fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, and it allowed the author to show how the genders are more equal and the differences are magnified. I was originally thinking of going with two friends going through an adventure.
                  Some of these I forgot that I had read and was pleased that others remembered them too. Some I haven't heard of, but I will write them all down to keep an eye out for when I go to the library and book store.

                  And when looking through my old books, I found Shel Silverstein's poetry books. I know what I am going to be reading! haha.


                  • #10
                    Bookworms: Oh yeah, I agree. I loved series #1 of Warriors quite a few years ago- I bought the whole 6 and read them on a road trip to Nevada. But the others were just silly. There's only so much you can reasonably do with cats that live in a forest, after all.

                    Shel Silverstien..oh, I loved him! Especially the one about "the piece that didn't fit" and the silly poems. (Although a couple freaked me out. The one where the kid got so hungry that he ate everything and then when there was nothing else, ate himself, leaving just an eternally snapping pair of jaws...*shudder*. Most were not like that, though.) I made up a song with "The Bouncing Mouse" as lyrics when I was five.

                    Um. Books.

                    A Little Princess? Maybe? The girl is quite spunky, you gotta admit, although...maybe not the best...
                    The Secret Garden. My favorite for a very long time.

                    Quite a few non-Western mythology books are interesting basises (basies? Basi?), but be VERY careful if this is for young kids. I found out quite a few of, uhm, the facts of life quite a bit early from a mis-shelved Native American mythology.

                    What else hasn't been said?
                    Mandy by Julie Andrews

                    Oh! What is it called? Something Something Moonpie Adventure.

                    Ummm, Jimmy Zangwow's Moonpie Adventure. Picture book. Very funny.


                    • #11
                      POSSUM MAGIC oh my gosh. I loved Possum Magic. A friend of my mother's did embroideries for me and my siblings when we were born and my one is a SLOWLY DISAPPEARING POSSUM. Ahem, sorry.

                      Other picture books that strike me that I don't see elsewhere (it's possible some of these may be NZ or Commonwealth specific):
                      The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, by Eric Carle - can't believe no-one has mentioned the former, although I suppose it's a bit younger than five year olds.
                      Dogger, and many others by Shirley Hughes.
                      Each, Peach, Pear, Plum, and many others by Janet and Alan Ahlberg
                      The Lion in the Meadow and The Man Whose Mother Was A Pirate by Margaret Mahy
                      Katie Morag and the Troublesome Ted by Mairi Hedderwick - I distinctly remember this one being BRILLIANT on grumpy days.
                      The Tunnel and Gorilla by Anthony Browne both feature girls who have adventures!
                      I also hear Judy Moody is pretty popular these days.

                      I also remember a tonne that I know are NZ ones (Kimi and the Watermelon, the Kuia and the Spider and probably a couple other Robyn Kahukiwa, etc.)

                      Books I read myself at that age ('that age' meaning 5, since by 6 I read the Hobbit and I'm guessing you don't want to write another one of those.) Milly Molly Mandy & sequels; heaps of Enid Blyton (of course) and many other junky Brit series like the Bobbsey Twins; Jill Paton Walsh (worst witch!)

                      In my class we are looking at how the media and toys and books perpetuate gender roles, such as girls being helpless, weak, princesses who only find fulfillment when they meet their prince; and boys receiving most of the fun roles and being adventurous and brave, independent and valued. Think fairy tales, and go opposite.
                      My teacher said that she read a book once where the main characters were fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, and it allowed the author to show how the genders are more equal and the differences are magnified. I was originally thinking of going with two friends going through an adventure.
                      Have you looked in class at things like The Paper-Bag Princess, Patricia C. Wrede's Dealing with Dragons, Ella Enchanted (book not movie), etc? Could be an interesting perspective on the issues your teacher is discussing if not.
                      Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush! Fear death by water!


                      • #12
                        I could have way too much fun remembering all the books I read, but most of them probably wouldn't help you, so I'll contain myself.
                        I don't think anyone's mentioned Harold and the Purple Crayon (by Crockett Johnson) yet, but that one could be good for you to look at. If you're not familiar with it, it's all about imagination.
                        Also, The Mitten by Jan Brett. She also did a version of Beauty and the Beast I had forgotten about that may or may not be useful.
                        If you want to look at something for readers a little older than that, you can look at A Hive for the Honeybee by Soinbhne Lally. I remembered reading this book as a kid because of its profound implications and not quite happy ending, and I was finally able to track it down and read it again. It is written from the perspective of bees, so there are some interesting things going on there with gender just based on bee biology (the males are portrayed as mostly useless, etc.).
                        That's all I can think of right now. Good luck!
               have been this once, completely, even if only once: to have been at one with the earth, seems beyond undoing.
                        - Rainer Maria Rilke, The Ninth Elegy


                        • #13
                          Again, thanks to everyone who has posted books. I have been looking through some of the ones that I have or that I have been able to find so far, mostly to get an idea of how to set up the story. You know, like the balance between written words and illustrations (because its looking like I'm doing a picture book) and the kind of language to use and whatnot.
                          I have come up with a couple of ideas for my project, and if anyone is interested I might post a little something from it when it is done.