How great are "Great Books for Girls?" : an examination of gender messages in recommended literature for adolescent girls
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A number of booklists recommending novels that can help children expand their ideas of gender roles have been recently published, in part because of the recent attention paid to the drops in self-esteem and academic performance adolescent girls experience related to gender roles. I examined several of these booklists and a small sample of the novels they recommend. Although many of the recommended novels offered readers examples of nontraditional heroines, they also perpetuated gender bias to some degree. In order for literature to be an effective tool in changing children’s definitions of gender, parents, educators, and authors need to be extremely critical of the gender messages in novels, and these messages need to be discussed with readers.