As I was browsing the latest in new fiction this morning, it struck me how much of new YA fiction is geared more towards girls. And when you’re shopping for books for guys, this can be a bit of a problem. Why are so many authors gearing their products towards girls and leaving the boys with nothing to read except girl drama and heartbreak over that hunky vampire?
Because girls read more than boys do. And apparently the problem is not with the boys themselves, but with the material they’ve been told is “good” to read. According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, the way to a guys literary heart is through farts and brains. Get them through their sense of humour! That’s a great strategy for young boys. But I’m wondering how to get teen boys back into reading. I’m not one hundred percent sure… but I don’t think that teen culture would not allow a 16 years old boy to read Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People. I could be completely wrong on that, and could end up buying the entire series of Captain Underpants. The world is a strange place.
Looking at our own fiction section, I realize that many of the books we buy for these boys to read, are books that we think they should read. Now, many of them do get taken out for various English projects or for ten minute silent reading. I see quite a few boys grab a book from the shelves to help kill time during break. But I see many more boys on their new iPad surfing YouTube or Facebook. And that book they borrowed for 10 minute reading? That’s all it was. It ends up back in the drop box as soon as bell goes. Hopefully this year, with more recommendations from students themselves, I’ll be able to fix that with the help of bestselling author James Patterson’s young reader page called ReadKiddoRead which has books for all ages. I’ll also be checking out the Vancouver Public Library Recommends page as well as Guys Read, a website dedicated to books for boys.