Montage of boys and girls book covers

Let Books Be Books campaign update

Since we launched the Let Books Be Books campaign in March we’ve seen major publishers confirm that they will no longer publish titles labelled ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’.  So who’s still holding out for gendered marketing, and where next for the campaign?


Books expand children’s horizons and allow them to imagine anything is possible. So we’re challenging publishers who limit this by telling children whether boys or girls should be reading their books.

Earlier this year we launched our new Let Books Be Books campaign which challenged the idea that boys and girls require different books, and we’ve had some success. Usborne, DK Books, Parragon and Paperchase have all confirmed that once their current stock runs out, they will no longer print books with gendered titles. Waterstones have also supported the campaign and aim not to stock these types of books.

We also had support from a number of journalists and authors who all agree that gender stereotypes have no place in children’s book marketing – see media coverage for the Let Books Be Books campaign.

What next?

This week, we’ll be challenging those publishers who continue to label children’s books by gender including Buster Books, Igloo and Ladybird. We’ll also be increasing pressure on the retailers who stock them such as WH Smith, Blackwells, Asda and The Works. Several retailers who were very responsive to removing ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ toy signage have been far slower in responding to requests to remove these books. These include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Wilkinson and TK Maxx.

We’ll be celebrating the support we’ve received and the people who market and sell books in an inclusive way.

Your voice

You can help us by letting publishers and retailers know when they are selling something you are unhappy with. Do your children really need to see ‘The Brilliant Boys Colouring Book’ on sale next to ‘The Beautiful Girls Colouring Book’? Can fairy tales ever be divided by gender? Let us know about your contact with publishers and retailers on lettoysbetoys@gmail.com and join the conversation on Twitter using #letbooksbebooks

And don’t forget to sign the Let Books Be Books petition

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