International Children's Book Day is observed on 2 April, on Hans Christian Andersen's birthday. It was first observed in 1967 and aims "to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books" (via).
Children's books can be gender-specific or gender-neutral. The 2014 petition Let Books Be Books received thousands of signatures asking children's publishers to take gender labels off books "and allow children to choose freely what kinds of stories and activity books interest them". The petition tries to keep customers from "buying sexism" (via). While some publishing houses say that they are not planning to create new titles that refer to boys or girls, others state that gender-specific titles are easier to sell than unisex editions ... an interesting calculation as marketing books to one gender halves the readership (via).
Since culture is depicted in children's books, gender is depicted in children's books, too. In the 1970s, critics drew attention to the images and roles of women and girls in children's literature with phrases such as the passive Sleeping Beauty or helpless Snow White and pointed out that children's literature could positively change children's gender attitudes. In fact, recent research shows "positive developments in gender biased tradition of children literature". That is quite a good sign as according to Trepanier-Street "gender stereotypical thinking may limit children's choices, interests, and abilities" (Moattar, 2010).
Moattar, K. (2010) The Visual Representation of Gender in Illustrated Children's Books in Iran and Sweden Today: A study of "The lover and Sanam" and "That's what a princess does". Master's Thesis, Lunds Universitet
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