Power Reading! Perfect for a Princess!

That’s right, kiddies! Step on up, come see the vast book selection at Scholastic! Do you want adventure, action, powerful careers, and brain play? Well then, have we got the book for you…..

Oh, no, not you Sweetie. So sorry, you misunderstood. That’s okay, Sugar. Look here, see the pretty princess books in pink? See how everything is so pretty? And pink? See the glitter and sparkles? Sparkles, Sweetie, sparkles!


Anyway, that’s the conversation I have with myself when I look through the Scholastic book orders that come home with my preschooler. I still buy a few every month, but I gotta be honest with you, my patience is running very thin.

More on this to come….but you tell me, what is Scholastic really selling to our kids?



  1. Glad I found you. Harper Collins Publishers asked me to blog about Peggy Orenstein’s book,Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

    Right now I have several blogs about it from parenting experts at http://www.ParentingSkillsBlog.com

    I share your dismay and support what you’re trying to do.

    Warm wishes to you,


  2. Yikes! 0urs aren’t that bad. There are lots of gendered titles but not this kind of sledgehammer marketing. Here’s a link to the April flyer for the PreK-K set. http://www.scholastic.ca/clubs/elf/april/ELF_N_04_2011.pdf so you can compare.

  3. Oh wow! I never noticed how bad it was before. Unbelievable!

  4. My kids are a little older, and the flyers they get don’t seem this blatant. That’s pretty disgusting! However I have totally noticed the gendered crap creep! And I really don’t appreciate the Disney/Nickolodeon characters being marketed to girls – we really don’t need Hannah Montana books or iCarly books. At the book fair we had recently, my 12 y o son totally rejected books because they were “girl books” – and they are. They are created and marketed to girls.

  5. Wow, I had no idea about this. I remember as a kid bringing home the Scholastic book order forms and there was always a great selection of books. I’m disappointed to see this has degenerated to nothing more than a Toys R Us type of flyer.

  6. Ugh. This is so disappointing. We get those in the cubby every month, and to be honest I rarely look at them. But what ridiculously gendered advertising to contrast “power” and “princess.” It doesn’t get any more stereotypical than that. And apparently girls can’t be movers and shakers, either? Femininity sounds dreadfully boring. Not to mention downright dangerous.

  7. Interesting. I live in Canada, and had not thought of Scholastic in this negative light… I considered their books to be a good value and liked that they were available in French. So I went to Scholastic.ca (Canadian site) to check it out and the student book club flyers there seem to be significantly better. There is no “Firefly” category (Elf is equivalent)and I couldn’t get to Jan 11 in order to compare it directly as they only have the past few months posted. The Scholastic.com (US site) wants me to register before I can even look at the flyer online. I wonder what it is about the American market that drives them to organize their flyer the way they do… I would not have expected such a big difference between the Canadian and American flyers. Some of the frou-frou girly series are grouped together, but there isn’t the feeling of a boy/girl boundary across the page – they are much more mixed. http://www.scholastic.ca/clubs/elf/may/ELF_N_05_2011.pdf

    • Paula –
      We just looked online and compared the US flyers to the Canadian ones. There is an incredible difference, and the Canadian ones are much better!

  8. Blech.

    How many trademarks are there, too? Stereotypes and trademarks seem to go hand in hand. Because it’s too hard to make money off of independent thinkers.

    Check out Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s book fair guide. http://commercialfreechildhood.org/bookfairs/home.htm

    And their data, from a few years back, on non-book items: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/scholasticdata.html
    Bratz, Littlest Pet Shop, Disney, etc all make an appearance.

  9. Agh! That is horrifying! The ones my daughter gets aren’t so bad, or maybe I’m not looking that closely? Now I’m glad I don’t buy from them! Works out well anyways, because my daughter prefers to hold the book and glance through it before she chooses it anyways 🙂 My daughter definitely prefers the less gender based books (clifford, monsters inc, etc) which is a nice change from her ALWAYS wanting princess books. She doesn’t like the princesses much anymore because “they don’t do anything” hahaha words from babes

  10. Natalie says:

    Oh dear. 🙁 I do not remember marketing being this obviously biased when I was a kid… and that was only as far back as the 90s. I mean, there was gender stratification, but this is pretty ridiculous in comparison.

  11. Holy cow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like that, but having only taught older kids (grade 6+), I wonder if theirs are different? It’s been a while since I was in a classroom, maybe they’ve changed? Out of those, I’d buy the Fancy Nancy because my daughter likes them and the lacing cards because they would be great for fine motor skill development. The rest are HORRIBLE!

    • I went online to look at the older kids’ order forms, and it is different for them. There is still gendered stuff and the character crap creep, but not quiet as bad as the little kids stuff.

  12. You crack me up! I love the whole “sweety, sugar” comments. I can hear the condescending voices of adults telling little girls to gravitate towards girly, sparkly, glittery stuff — and now it’s books. But do you notice all the books out there for our little girls? They’re the same. It drives me nuts! How can we compete? I am overwhelmed and I am in full force trying to explain these things to my 3-year-old!

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