8 kids' books to challenge gender stereotypes

Black and white image of a tween boy reading a book on a sofa. He has dark hair and bare feet.

We've talked before about how books and media are an important space to shake up gender stereotypes .

So we asked some parents (and a teacher) we know, and took some advice from organisations that focus on gender stereotypes and toys/books, and came up with a list of popular suggestions.

Our top tip for story time is read these books with both your sons and your daughters!

Why? Boys benefit from seeing girls as heroes, thinkers and role models just as much as girls do! And both boys and girls need to see that everyone can be caring and creative.

The broader the range of role models and ideas we share, the best chance we give our kids to be their true selves, without limitations.

Here are 8 great books to read with your kids

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

Gerald the giraffe is told he can’t dance because his neck is 'too long' and his legs 'too skinny'. Follow Gerald’s story of shrugging off outdated rules in order to do what you love – and ultimately finding his way onto the dance floor!

No Difference between Us by Jayneen Saunders

This book goes through the story of twins Jess and Ben. The crux of this colourful story is that there is no difference between Jess and Ben on the stuff that really matters! The use of twins is a great, simple example for kids to see girls and boys as equal buddies.

Tough guys have feelings too by Keith Negley

Everyone gets sad – ninjas, wrestlers, knights, superheroes, dads! Society doesn’t talk so much about how 'tough guys' have feelings so this is a great read to get the conversation going about emotions and how they affect us all, regardless of gender.

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

I Am Enough is an ode to loving who you are, respecting others and being kind to one another. It’s a great conversation starter around self-esteem and being proud of who you are as an individual.

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

This is the story of Dyson who likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. It’s inspired by the author's son, and by her own journey to break free from gender stereotypes to support her son to be himself. It’s also got positive messages around anti-bullying.

The Underwater Fancy Dress Parade by Davina Bell

Winner of the 2016 Australian Book Industry Award for Best Children’s Book from a Small Publisher, this story is full of imagination – there’s an underwater fancy-dress parade, a big octopus wearing a tiny hat and cowboys on the wallpaper. A fantasy tale that shows boys as the creative and excitable individuals they are.

Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole

Flipping the traditional princess storyline upside-down, Princess Smartypants would rather spend time with her wacky collection of pets than get married. This is a tale of a princess choosing her own adventure.

Some Girls by Nelly Thomas

Some Girls is a great story for talking about how every person is an individual – and this is a good thing! It's about knowing that girls can do and be anything they want. Covering cars and bikes to art and dolls, Some Girls smashes stereotypes and celebrates all interests.