The Wrap Up of #100daysofbooks! (our donation, and some comments about gender)

So, we reached 100 in the #100daysofbooks project! Thankyou to everyone who followed along and made suggestions on what we should read. Some of the books I wasn't able to source in time, but I have on my list to find and read anyway. And having reached the end, as pledged, we have today made a $250 donation to the Indigenous Literary Foundation. Thankyou to everyone who's bought one of my books for making this possible.

In the final wrap up of the project, I'll say that I enjoyed it, even though sometimes it was a challenge to both read the book and put up a post each day! It's given me a new appreciation for the breadth of children's picture books, and made us regulars at the local library (never a bad thing!). The one sad thing that stood out to me was how gender skewed the books seemed to be. Now, we only read 100, but I did a break down and:

  • Nearly half the books (47) were overtly about a male character, while
  • Only 11 were about an overtly female character. In addition,
  • Another 12 the characters were a mix of male and female, and
  • In 30, the gender of the characters was not clear.

It's a bit disappointing to me, especially as some of the books also perpetuated gender stereotypes and "traditional" roles. I believe very strongly that stories are a huge part of how we make sense of the world. For women to achieve true equality (and no, we are NOT there yet) we need both men and women to see stories that represent the proportions of us, and the multitude of roles we play. With a few exceptions, I have this slightly sinking feeling that picture books aren't doing that for children. And if they're not, then I really want to ask why not. Anyway, food for thought.