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I finished last night a really good book, Mountain Born, by Elizabeth Yates.  I’ve been on a real kids’ books reading glut lately.  When I first picked this book up, I thought it was old-fashioned and simplistic, but I have this System (I have a lot of Systems) where I won’t put a book down for good until after I’ve read 50 pages.  By the time I was at page 50, I was hooked.  It is a quiet story, and not much happens.  A boy grows up on a sheep ranch in New Hampshire back in the days when boys only had one coat and they worked around the farms, and they walked to town, and life was very simple.

The book was so wise and so charming, even though the dialogue seemed stilted sometimes.  It was definitely the kind of book that I love, and then it occurred to me that I don’t think I could get either boy to read and enjoy this book.  I wondered if this was a gender thing or a personal taste thing.  Sure, some books – Transformers Meet G.I. Joe or Princess Barbie Ballerina – may be unappealing to half of the child population, but I always thought that when you went beyond the blatant stereotype pulp, that the books were more or less gender-neutral.   I wonder if there is another kind of book that is just more of a fit for females or males.  I certainly like very guy-ish books like Tom Clancy, Frederick Forsythe, Stephen King, and I’m sure lots of other women do, too.

It could be more an age rather than gender thing.  Maybe the pace of the book is just slower than most kids are comfortable with.  And who knows?  I could be totally wrong and if I read the book to boys, maybe they would love it, but I don’t think so.  I think they would tolerate it.

I would be interested if anyone else has any thoughts on this.


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