Saturday, November 30, 2013

Jen’s Five Kids’ Books Demonstrating That Vehicles Are Not Just for Boys

One of Micah’s favorite bedtime books has beautiful illustrations, wonderful, flowing text, and five tough trucks getting ready for bed. All of the trucks are male. Switching the pronouns around when we read it is effective but complicated, and I am grateful when we find books that provide some gender diversity without our intervention.

By the way, I would like to emphasize that this list of books is Not Just for Girls. Just as unjust, in my opinion, as raising a girl who thought trucks were only for boys would be raising a boy who would tell her so.

Phoebe and Digger by Tricia Springstubb (Candlewick, $16.99)
Girl with truck (and new sibling).

Maisy Drives the Bus by Lucy Cousins (Candlewick, $3.99)
Female mouse (who is not gender-marked) with bus.

Machines at Work (also Trucks, and Planes) by Byron Barton (HarperFestival, $7.99)
Construction trucks (and other vehicles) with male and female drivers.

The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom (Boyds Mills Press, $6.95)
Various vehicles with male and female drivers.

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard (Candlewick, $15.99)
And finally, construction trucks personified, with both male and female (and neutral) pronouns, plus male and female kids/drivers!

Jennifer Sheffield, November 2013


Krista said...

I nominate "The Best Part of Daddy's Day" by Claire Alexander for a place on future lists of this type. The characters are anthropomorphic dogs: a father and his androgynous offspring. The story opens with "My name is Bertie, and my daddy is a builder. He drives diggers and trucks every day! Today he's going to go up in his crane and build a tall tower. When I'm big, I want to be a builder just like him..." I like that it shows the father doing a lot of caregiving, in addition to working; he appears to be a single father.

Jen said...

Thanks, Krista!
I also want to add the board books Maisy's Digger and Maisy's Race Car, both new last year from Lucy Cousins. A fascinating thing about the race car book is that while she's ahead early on, Maisy doesn't actually win her race, and she's fine with that. (Her passenger Black Cat gets some pretty grumpy expressions, though, at least until the ice cream shows up.)

Jen said...

Brand new book to add! Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery by David Gordon. It's extremely cute! It's about an escalating back-and-forth between kids (Karen the Rabbit and her friends) building ever-more-elaborate sandcastles in the sandbox and other kids coming in to bully them and knock the structures down. The heavy machinery doesn't arrive until at least the fourth iteration...

Eventually everyone ends up with a new theme park.