Is ‘Princess Diaries’ only for girls and the ‘Eragon’ series only for boys?

Well, when it comes to children’s books, division by gender makes them easier to sell - but is that the right way for parents and booksellers?

We say nahin, no, nope, nada! And we’re going to tell you why in 4 reasons, peppered with some heartwarming tweets from across the world.

1. Books don’t discriminate, then why should readers? Books are global sources of joy, not written or meant for a particular gender. Let’s look at a book as a story, as an idea, as a friend - and not as something that is suitable or not suitable for a particular gender.

2. Because books should be chosen basis interest, and not gender: Books have a vast impact on our minds and we should allow our children to find whatever suits their interest. Does your son like to cook or play with dolls? Maybe a cooking book with beautiful pictures will interest him. Does your daughter like martial arts? Maybe a book on a ninja warrior will interest her! And if you aren’t sure what your child’s biggest interests are yet, that’s okay - experiment with books and you’ll find their niche!

3. Books help children discover themselves: Without knowing, books help us unravel a side of ourselves that we didn’t know existed. For instance, I know readers who realised how much they cared about nature after reading Ruskin Bond. Similarly, someone might discover they like mysteries and thrillers by reading Agatha Christie! Limiting the choice of books as per the gender of the child is like limiting their potential for discovering their own self and interests.

4. Segregation reinforces gender stereotypes: For far too long, young girls have been taught they are princesses waiting for their prince to ‘rescue’ them from danger. Young boys have been taught they must be strong and not vulnerable. We need to break this rigid mould.

I spoke to my father, Deepak Mehta, about whether he ever chose book for us according to gender when my sister and I were growing up.In his words, here’s the Freadom Parent Tip of the week.

“The best thing we did was to let your sister you discover your interests first, and then the books. You were always drawn to Hardy Boys, and even looking like them - while your sister loved Princess Diaries and then suddenly had dreams of becoming a dragon rider after reading ‘Eragon’. The gender never mattered - your choice of books evolved as you evolved.”