When you choose a book for a child do you buy “boy” books for boys and “girl” books for girls? If so, you are guilty of gender profiling.
I write picture books. I am writing to assure you that when you choose a picture book for your preschooler or primary-aged child, he/she will like or dislike the book based on the story and the pictures. If the story and illustrations are entertaining, children will like it regardless of the gender of the main character.
It is very disconcerting to have parents and grandparents tell me their son or grandson won’t like The Great Bellybutton Cover-up because the main character is female. (She’s a sheep for goodness sake.) The story is laugh-out-loud funny. The pictures are colourful and delightful. Both boys and girls love it equally. (I know this because I’ve read the book to literally thousands of children.) (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10941529-the-great-bellybutton-cover-up)
If you base your picture book purchases (or children’s chapter book purchases for that matter) on your preconceived notions of what a “boy” or “girl” will like, you are doing the child a grave disservice. Your child will be missing out on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wonderful stories. I cannot emphasize this enough: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “BOY” STORY OR A “GIRL” STORY. A good book, is a good book.
What Do You Do With A Kangaroo by Mercer Mayer is hysterical. The story and pictures are wonderful. The main charater is a girl; so what. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/917911.What_Do_You_Do_With_A_Kangaroo)
The chapter book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is a fabulous story. The main character is a girl; again, so what. Boys and girls will love the mystery and magic of this book. (http://www.americanliterature.com/FrancesHodgsonBurnett/TheSecretGarden/TheSecretGarden.html)
Is Harry Potter meant to be read exclusively by boys? Of course not.
So when you pick up a book for a child, buy it based on whether the book is well-written and well-illustrated and whether it makes you smile or laugh or cry or think or learn. Don’t let gender profiling limit your selection. Don’t even think about the gender of the main character. It’s irrelevant.