Browsing through the children's book section, you might notice a common theme among the books targeted toward girls:


So. Much. Pink. Image by Robynlou Kavanagh/Flickr.

And, look, there's absolutely nothing wrong with pink and princesses. But let's be honest: There aren't a whole lot of job openings for princesses these days. What about books that tell girls they can grow up to be anything they want, like firefighters and police officers?

Enter Charles C. Dowd, a dad who decided it was about time to remind our girls they can do — and be — anything. And he's doing it with this awesome board book.

All book images by Charles C. Dowd, used with permission.

Dowd was inspired to write "The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls" after he and his son, a junior in high school, were talking about college majors and career options. His younger daughter piped in, and before he knew it, they were deep in a conversation about why boys can do certain things that girls cannot.

"That led to a conversation about traditional and stereotypical gender roles and why none of that really applies in modern society," Dowd told me. "It also pointed out to me that regardless of how encouraging my wife and I are, our daughter is still being influenced by friends, teachers, media, and everyone else."

And so the book idea — with the tagline "You can be anything you want to be!" — was born.

'Cause the thing is, girls can be anything they want, like a chef:

Or a heavy metal guitarist:

Or a librarian:


Dowd doesn't hate pink and princesses nor does he have a problem with our kids' varying interests.

But, as he says, society "likes to tell kids that there are boy things and girl things, but in my opinion, they're all just things."

"Why can't girls play with normal Legos? Why do they have to have special pink ones?" he wonders. "It makes no sense. Why can't a girl play with Hot Wheels? Why can't a girl aspire to be a professional athlete? Why can't girls be strong?"

All good questions!

And the fact is, gender bias in books is real.

Florida State University led "the most comprehensive study of 20th century children's books ever undertaken in the United States." This probably won't come as a shocker, but what they found is that there's a gender bias toward male lead characters — even in books about animals.

Janice McCabe, assistant professor of sociology, led the study. She noted:

"The widespread pattern of underrepresentation of females that we find supports the belief that female characters are less important and interesting than male characters. This may contribute to a sense of unimportance among girls and privilege among boys. The gender inequalities we found may be particularly powerful because they are reinforced by patterns of male-dominated characters in many other aspects of children's media, including cartoons, G-rated films, video games and even coloring books."

Let's fix that — for all of our kids.

At the end of the day, Dowd's goal is simple: "I just think it's important to teach kids (and adults for that matter) that gender really doesn't have anything to do with choosing a career path. If a person has the drive, determination, and the talent, they can pretty much pursue any career path they choose.


Dowd is running a Kickstarter so he can publish the book. As of the end of September 2015, he's pretty close to being funded. If you're interested in supporting him and getting your own copy of "The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls," you can head over to his page and make a contribution.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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