She also refers to a statement by William Brozo, a professor of literacy at George Mason University:
Brozo adds that those are the years when masculine identity becomes paramount for boys—and many boys see reading as a “girl thing.”But the star of the article seems to be Jon Scieszka (author of The Stinky Cheese and Other Fairly Stupid Tales) and his proposed solution: a website known as "Guysread.com".
I'm all for getting more boys to read, but I've never been entirely comfortable with such programs as these, believing that they further entrench male stereotypes— stereotypes that I think got males into such trouble in the first place! This quote from Scieszka in particular got my panties in a bunch:
Little House on the Prairie might be a wonderful book, but if you’re an 8-year-old boy, it’s not the book that’s going to light your fire and get you reading.
Little House on the Prairie was a favourite of mine as a boy. Did this make me less of a boy? If Scieszka is suggesting so, I'd suggest where he could stick the book, but perhaps it's thanks to Laura Ingalls Wilder, I'm too much of a gentleman for that.
But my point for this post isn't to debate Scieszka's program (though feel free to do so in the comments below). My point is that I was reminded of the "girl thing" again this morning when I saw this poster from the American Library Association this morning:
And I thought, images of men reading should be a campaign (if it hasn't been one already). Boys need to see men reading, to know that it isn't a "girl thing." Reading is not gender-specific!
So, on Twitter this morning I started asking for photos of men reading books. They might be your husbands, boyfriends, boy-friends, self, sons, uncles, grandfathers, neighbours, whoever (just ask permission first!). Upload them to Twitter with the hashtag #boysreadtoo. Feel free to upload them to Facebook, Blogger, Instagram, or whatever social media that's currently diverting your attention. It doesn't matter what they're reading: Little House on the Prairie or a John Wayne biography. It doesn't matter if they're a basketball player or a kindergarten teacher. Get the image out there: