Ladybird axes ‘for boys’ and ‘for girls’ labels on children’s books

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Children’s book publisher Ladybird will be dropping book titles aimed at ‘boys’ and ‘girls’.

The long-running book series – which has been used to teach children to read for over 100 years – has committed today to make all its books gender neutral.

It had been criticized in the past for separating its Ladybird Favourite Fairy Tales for Girls, including stories of princess like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Goldilocks – and Ladybird Favourite Stories for Boys, which are adventure-focussed books like Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs.

The company said: “At Ladybird we certainly don’t want to be seen to be limiting children in any way.

“Out of literally hundreds of titles currently in print, we actually only have six [gendered] titles.

“As Ladybird is part of the Penguin Random House Children’s division, our commitment to avoiding gendered titles in the trade crosses all our imprints.”

The Let Books Be Books campaign – backed by high-profile authors including Neil Gaiman – has long called for the change.

The campaign argues: “Children’s publishing should always aim to open up new worlds for children. But telling children which stories and activities are ‘for them’ based on their gender closes down whole worlds of interest.

“[Publishers should] stop labelling books this way and let children decide for themselves what kinds of stories and activity books they find interesting.”