Let Toys Be Toys campaign is asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.

Find out more about the Let Toys Be Toys campaign.

Usborne confirms – no more books ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’

We’re really happy that award-winning children’s publisher Usborne Books have confirmed to us their decision to stop producing books with ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’ in the title.

Usborne were the first publisher to respond positively to the #LetBooksBeBooks campaign, telling Guardian Books on 7 March that they took feedback on the gender-specific titles very seriously, and had no plans to produce any new gender-specific titles.  Read more…

  • SF-Said-Alice"As a child, I thought she was called 'Alison Wonderland' and I loved her adventures. It never even occurred to me that we weren't the same gender. Now, as a writer, I see that Alice is the first great character of children's literature: an iconic heroine who transcends gender, age and time. Every book I write owes her a debt." Author, SF Said
  • PeppaPig"M loves his Peppa Pig books. His favourite character is Suzy Sheep."
  • J.Dougherty-HungerGames"The Hunger Games is a brilliant book - a thrilling, thought-provoking story that grabs you from the first page. It makes you angry about injustice, stupidity and cruelty. And Katniss is the sort of hero we can all look up to." Children’s author and poet, John Dougherty
  • Daisy_Coconuts"I love Daisy because she is so funny. She does silly things and always says it isn't her fault"
  • tomH"When I was growing up, lots of my favourite characters were girls - Pippi Longstocking, Marmalade Atkins, Dorothy Gale, the Blackett Sisters. The book I'm reading here is called 'Travel Light', its about a little girl who's brought up by dragons before going out to explore the real world. It's a bit like 'The Hobbit', only backwards, and it's completely great." Author, Tom Huddleston
  • SpiderTed_eyes_580"P loves reading about Sophie and all of the mischief and adventures she gets up to. Best of all she is also 7, just like him!"
  • JStewart"Since childhood I have loved Little My from Tove Jansson's Moomin books. She is subversive, dangerous, wise, and unlike any other character I can think of anywhere." Author, Illustrator, and TV Director, Joel Stewart
  • M age 7 reading Sophie's complete adventures on a long ferry trip to Spain
  • Matilda"In childhood, it's heros like Matilda that really matter. She's only five years old but, by using her intelligence and imagination, takes on the formidable Miss Trunchbull and wins." Simon, London.
  • SilverChair"As a boy I loved adventure books like C.S Lewis's The Silver Chair. Jill is the main character and she travels across the Wildlands on a mission to rescue Prince Caspian" Alan, Durham.
  • ClariceBean5yo Joe (who doesn't stay still!) loves Clarice Bean
  • MillyMollyMandy_580"I always enjoyed getting Milly Molly Mandy books from my local library when I was a child. I never thought of them as 'girls' books." Barry, London.
  • Fairyland“September’s an amazing role model for all ages and genders, especially since she’s not tied down by stereotypes. She’s a fantastic character with a uniquely cynical personality"

Boys read about girls

Children’s publishers often say that boys won’t read about girls. We think it’s plain daft to think that boys aren’t capable of empathising with half the planet’s population, and irresponsible to market books in a way that suggests they’re not meant to.

We asked a few boys (and former boys!) to tell us about books that they love featuring girls. Read more…

Books: caring boys and adventurous girls

Our friends at Letterbox Library have picked out some great books that offer an alternative to fighting and snot vs fairies and cupcakes. Which books do you love that show boys exploring their emotional side, or girls making their mark?

At Letterbox Library all our books are chosen by a team of volunteer reviewers: teachers and parents and children. We know that followers of Let Toys Be Toys will have their favourites so we’ve tried to introduce some lesser-known titles into the mix. (Ages are guidelines only) Read more…

"P loves reading about Sophie and all of the mischief and adventures she gets up to. Best of all she is also 7, just like him!"

My boy and his books

Let Toys Be Toys campaigner Tessa Trabue reflects on what her son loves to read, and asks, if it’s true that many boys won’t read about girls, where are they getting the idea that they shouldn’t? Read more…

Parragon books – no new girl/boy titles in the UK

Parragon Books are the latest retailer to respond to our Let Books Be Books campaign.

The publisher, whose current titles include   ’1000 Girly stickers’ and ’365 stories and rhymes for Boys’ have said that they have no plans for new  Boys/Girls titles in the UK. Read more…

Montage of boys and girls book covers

Books for Boys? For Girls? For Children?

Fen and Kerry of stereotype-busting children’s booksellers, Letterbox Library, take a look at the gendered world of reading, and ask, why are publishers so keen to tell children which sort of stories are for them?

Flick through pretty much any publisher’s catalogue these days, or search using the same publisher’s website and you will most likely be hit by a collection of books which have been so gender-specifically packaged that they even include the words ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’ in the title.  Read more…

The Beautiful Girls Colouring Book, The Briliant Boys' Colouring Book

Time to Let Books Be Books

We’re asking children’s publishers to take the ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ labels off books and allow children to choose freely what kinds of stories and activity books interest them.

Sign our petition now and ask publishers to Let Books Be Books Read more…

Press release: Let Toys Be Toys campaign asks publishers to Let Books Be Books

The Let Toys Be Toys campaign is launching a new petition for World Book Day, asking publishers, including Usborne, Igloo and Buster Books, to stop labelling activity books or story collections as for boys or for girls. Read more…

Girl and boy playing together with giant 4-in-a-row.

Focus on… Big Game Hunters

Outdoor play specialists Big Game Hunters is the latest toy retailer to be awarded the Let Toys Be Toys Toymark for selling toys in a gender-inclusive way. Hannah Davey of Big Game Hunters explains why they don’t feel the need to label toys for boys or for girls.

At Big Game Hunters we are passionate about encouraging families of all ages to play. As well as selling a wide range of high-quality outdoor and indoor games, we love to help and advise in any way we can to bring families together in shared creative play. Read more…

Parliamentary debate on toys and gender

Let Toys Be Toys were delighted to see the gender-specific marketing of toys debated in Parliament last week, tabled by Chi Onwurah, MP for Central Newcastle and Cabinet Office Shadow Minister.

It was great to see the campaign mentioned several times, and MPs from the three main parties expressing support for our aims. Read more…

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