Year 8 Reading Challenge has become a challenge for us Librarians as well. One of the catagories set, in which each boy must read and respond to at least one book, is that of a book which could be perceived to be written for and of interest to , well largely, the other half of the population. So each year, we are requested to find a ‘girls’ book (” quick – anything will do”). Strangely, given the fine tuning of publishers to provide covers that clearly indicate their target audience, and the uncanny ability of most boys to automatically avoid handling anything remotely female orientated, a lot of boys don’t know what they are looking for. It’s very disconcerting, very disorientating. Surely we haven’t got any here. Of course, as librarians we relish this moment. Where to start. Well, despite our firm commitment to our userbase, from within the nooks and crannies of of our alphabetical system, thanks to ‘Booked Up’, various Book Awards, requests from broader-minded students and our own professional determination to dilute the fantasy and gore , we can pull out contempory writing of the very best. In our library, Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner and Randa Abdel-fattah’s Where the Streets had a Name have been waiting for this moment; Carnegie Shortlisted Chains (Laurie Halse Anderson) and Ruby Red (Linzi Glass) have kept themselves smart; Broken Soup (Jenny Valentine) and Love, Aubrey (Suzanne LaFleur) will tell you how girls get to grips with the hard knocks. Yes, there are girls on the frontcover, the odd heart, a bit of pink. But take a look. It may be camoflaged but power doesn’t only come in Khaki!
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