This week’s post was originally inspired way back in July when I was in Poland with my family. We were visiting the Wawel Castle in Krakow, an incredible medieval castle that has withstood centuries of war and occupation (albeit with a few fires and restorations). It is now a national museum. I’d like to use an anecdote from this trip to illustrate the way stories can be retold in a way that is more gender-fair.
Today, my niece and nephew (primary inspirations for the blog) turn 6! They recently started kindergarten. This post is a tribute to both of those milestones. For their birthday, I gave them a series of books that I learned to read on: Russell Hoban’s Frances series. The Frances books are about a sassy badger and her attempts to navigate childhood’s great challenges.
One of the aspects of NPR listenership that many stations tend to target in the semi-annual pledge drives is the concept of “driveway moments”: sitting in your car after you’ve arrived home in order to hear the end of a story before going into your home. The idea is that if you experience these moments a lot (I do), you must value their service and enjoy their stories, and you should support them with a donation (don’t worry, I also do that too). I had one such driveway moment last week during an interview with Brad Meltzer on the program Here & Now about his children’s book series, Ordinary People Change the World.
On Wednesdays, we get together with some grad student friends for happy hour (the early bird special might be a more accurate description). We are all in psychology but from a mix of sub-disciplines, years, and life experiences. Lest I get sappy here, suffice it to say, Wednesdays are a blend of friendship and mentoring among some pretty darn educated, wonderful women. We talk about gender a lot — because it’s a personal interest of all of ours, because it’s my research area, and because we are women in science. Last week we moved our discussion to the movie theater. I used my most endearing/forceful tactics to get us to see Divergent.
This week we are revisiting some Caldecott Medal-winning favorites. Early in the week we featured Owl Moon. Today we take a look at Mirette on the High Wire, a long-time Fair Play favorite.
I recently asked my mother to select some of our family’s favorite picture books. Raising four children of their own and now two grandchildren, my parents’ collection has become well-honed over time. Every book that remains seems to have a distinct purpose – a lesson to learn, gender fair and anti-racist representation, or beautiful illustrations and rhythmic text. Needless to say, competition for this short list of favorites was hot. Today we’ll talk about one of the winners (and Caldecott award winner), Emily Arnold McCully’s Mirette on the High Wire.
We haven’t featured many books on Fair Play and frankly, that’s an oversight. We love to read, a passion kindled by Fair Play Supermom and dad and their dedication to providing a constant stream of new reading material. We’re going to make a concerted effort to feature more books on Fair Play, beginning today with the Caldecott Medal-winning Owl Moon, by Janet Yolen. Later this week we will revisit another favorite Caldecott Medal Winner, Mirette on the High Wire.
This week we are returning to some previous posts about how to talk about gender. First up, a post about handling gender fair values in your family. Later this week, how to talk (or not to) about gender with prospective parents.
This might come as a shock, dear readers, but not everyone is on board with this gender-fair business. Some people think differences between boys and girls should be encouraged. Others simply don’t see the harm that comes from not doing anything. Certainly the mainstream media is a culprit, but what about the people in your own life? What if, in fact, the gendered dialogue comes from family members, people whose efforts and affection are ostensibly directed toward your child’s happiness?
Last in our themed Gift Guides, today we’re rounding up our favorite gender-fair books and music. Check out our other themed Gift Guides — STEM toys and games. All of these posts include links to lengthier articles we’ve written previously about a topic, so if you need more information or ideas, check those out as well (linked throughout).