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April 19, 2021
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Publisher of children’s books ‘Ladybird’ to stop labelling gender specific books

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By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV Online

Ladybird, a premier children’s books publisher has put a stop to the labelling of books with “for boys” or “for girls” tags.

Ladybird Books is a London-based publishing company established in 1867 and trades as a stand-alone imprint within the Penguin Group of companies.

The Ladybird imprint publishes mass-market children’s books and according to a statement from the publisher, Ladybird said it was “committed to avoiding gendered titles and will be removing such labelling in reprinted copies”.

Ladybird said that it did not want to be seen “to be limiting children in any way“.

The decision follows a campaign to encourage publishers to stop targeting certain genders with designated books; the campaign Let Books Be Books is advocating for the removal of ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ labels.

This is so that children, no matter what gender, have the freedom to choose stories or activity books that interest them.

The gender labels place restrictions on children and the campaign group believe that gender titling is “limiting and restrictive” and is challenging publishers to remove their gender labelling.

So far, the Let Books Be Books campaign has received support with more than 6,500 signatures; Ladybird is the seventh publisher to commit to the cause.

Ladybird is part of the Penguin Random House Children’s division; launched in the 19th century in Leicestershire, a county in the English midlands with a population of just under one million.

Ladybird has published millions of illustrated books for almost a century now; from science to history, fairytales and popular book brands such as Hello Kitty and Peppa Pig. Ladybird also publishes e-books.

Ladybird has previously published books such as Ladybird Favourite Fairy Tales for Girls and Ladybird Favourite Stories for Boys and is famed for its classic Peter and Jane reading scheme.

“Out of literally hundreds of titles currently in print, we actually only have six titles with this kind of titling,” it said.

The Let Books Be Books campaign have said that titles like ‘The Beautiful Girls’ Book of Colouring’ or ‘Illustrated Classics for Boys’ sends the message certain books are off-limits for girls or for boys, and promote limiting gender stereotypes.

The campaign petition reads “how can a story or a colouring page be only for a girl or only for a boy? A good book should be open to anyone, and children should feel free to choose books that interest them.”

Publishers who have also joined the campaign include Parragon, Dorling Kindersley, Chad Valley and Usborne.

 

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