Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

Murray Close/AP

The sins of undiscerning marketers should not be visited on innocent children's books. Katy Guest, the literary editor of the Independent on Sunday newspaper in Britain, announced on the weekend that henceforth no children's book that is marketed by the publisher as "for girls" or "for boys" would even be considered for review. That strikes us as a tad fanatical.

All the members of The Globe and Mail's editorial board are former children (hard as that may be to believe). Consequently, we know that most good children's and young adults' books – as long ago as Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm's Kinder- und Hausmärchen and Alice in Wonderland and as recently as the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games – speak to, and are read by young human beings of both genders.

Quite a few good children's authors have written series about groups that include girls and boys, such as E. Nesbit, Arthur Ransome, C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling. Similarly, writers such as E.B. White, Walter R. Brooks and Beatrix Potter have written well for children about female and male animals with human characteristics. All that is certainly an argument (if any is needed) against gender segregation in children's sections in bookstores.

Story continues below advertisement

If there is a problem here, blame adults who know little or nothing about children's literature (or literature), and just want someone to help them figure out what to buy for this or that child. Yes, a children's book that is narrowly directed to one gender is probably not a good book. But the fault may lie in a publishing company's presentation, rather than what the author has written. And is it so wrong for cover designers and dust-jacket writers to try to help buyers, by suggesting who might be most likely to enjoy a book? Ms. Guest's promise to throw ostensibly gender-targeted children's books "straight into the recycling pile" will cause injustices.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies