Where Are All the Female Science Fiction Heroes in Picture Books?

Illustration for article titled Where Are All the Female Science Fiction Heroes in Picture Books?

Amanda R. Von Der Lohe maintains a Goodreads page on science fiction picture books, and after looking at hundreds of books she made a depressing discovery. Less than 15% of these books featured a girl protagonist.


Illustration from Boy + Bot

Jason Boog, author of Born Reading, interviewed Von Der Lohe for Galleycat, to find out more about her research.

She had some great comments aimed at people making picture books:

Authors, illustrators and publishers, please please please please please include more girls in science fiction picture books. Parents, read science fiction with your daughters ...

It broke my heart to read book after book in which girls were constantly left behind, relegated to background ornamentation, or left out of books entirely. Boys were more likely to go on a science fiction adventure with their dog than their sister.

Approximately 15% of the science fiction picture books I read featured female protagonists, and that's if I'm being generous. If we want girls to have more interest in science, they need to see themselves reflected in that field. We can start empowering them at a young age. Girls in general are represented proportionally less in all forms of entertainment, which according to this article extends to picture books.

Picture books are the way most kids first discover the joys of reading, and it's a terrible shame that so few science fiction stories represent girls going on adventures.

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Tomb: R.O.A.C.H. ᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ

I talked with a publisher a bit a few weeks back about this. And his response was that young boys in Sweden has started to read less. So the book companies is trying to get them to read more. At least in recent years. But this is no excuse for not having girl leads in picture books.