It’s We Recommend! In which we post a request that's been sent to us, and do our best to get that person the right book. Know a kid who needs a book to read? Send us (thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com) his or her likes, dislikes, favorites, quirks, and any other reading information that might be helpful, and we will think on it, and pose it to our oh-so-helpful readers. And look in the comments—all the best recommendations are there.
An interesting...well, I won't say conundrum, because it's not, but it certainly will get you thinking about gender and books and stereotypes and bravery, if you're that sort of reader.
See, we got the following lovely email:
For our almost 6-year-old boy Sam we're looking for books that show boys being wise, intuitive, and brave. He is naturally attracted to the qualities in many books written for girls, and we feel he is not being exposed to enough wise, intelligent, kind and brave boys.
Some books he's loved in the past:
- Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy (by David Soman, Jacky Davis)
- The Children of Noisy Village (by Astrid Lindgren)
- Fairyopolis: A Flower Fairies Journal (by Glen Bird Liz Catchpole and Cicely Mary Barker)
- We Are in a Book (Mo Willems)
Six-year-old Sam seems to like: nature. fairies. the outdoors. fun. insects.
I agree with him—these are all good things. And while there is a tiny bit of hesitation in me regarding the idea of such a purposeful read, I am fairly sure that this hesitation is reflexive and purposeless. So I will say that the very first book I thought of is the oh-so-wonderful Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, which has the most brave, kind, wise and intelligent boy of all. AND it has nature. And magic! And swans.
But then I thought it might be too old, even as a read aloud? Is it too long? Would it be too much? Would Stuart Little be better, as it is much more episodic? But Stuart Little doesn't seem to match the young man in quite the same way.
And then I thought: insects! Perhaps James and the Giant Peach, one of the greatest books in the world? But what about the two aunts getting squished flat so early on, and their terrible cruelty?
Oh dear, oh dear, it seemed like I would know, but maybe I won't know? A great read aloud, that's magical and kind and outdoors. Readers: I must return to my heart of hearts, and simply ask you to correct me in the comments, where you can put in a whole bunch of other books that make more sense. And truly, it is oh so wonderful.