Why read stories with female protagonists?

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Understand the importance of putting children in contact with stories about female protagonists and also see tips from books with female characters!

In childhood or adulthood, books are ways of learning more about the world and ourselves. Since long before writing existed, storytelling was a way of transmitting the important elements of our culture from generation to generation: values, moral lessons, and notions of right and wrong.

Even today, children’s books fulfill this role: in addition to entertaining and stimulating the imagination, their stories can show children how the world works, preparing them for adult life. So, when reading to a child, you always have to ask yourself: what messages am I giving my daughter or son with this story?

Female protagonists in children’s stories

A study carried out at the University of Florida analyzed 6,000 children’s books written between 1990 and 2000, finding that only 31% of them had central female characters.

Further, in a qualitative analysis, the authors of the study also pointed out that female characters tend to reflect stereotyped and outdated images of girls and women, being portrayed as more passive and submissive than their male counterparts.

Why should we worry about that?

Childhood is the moment in which we form an intense and continuous way of thinking. Children absorb everything around them, and take characters and narratives very seriously. They are models that add to their daily experiences to help form their identity.

The small number of female protagonists, not only in books but also in films and series, can encourage children to accept the invisibility of women and girls as something natural. This can lead girls to believe that they are less important or capable than men and boys, which affects their self-esteem, their confidence, and even reduces their opportunities in the future.

Benefits for girls and boys

Boys tend to be selective regarding content: they like to read or watch stories mostly of male protagonists. However, these characters also tend to fall into stereotypes: they are strong, confident, and rarely show their feelings. This can also have negative consequences: many boys grow up having difficulty expressing their emotions, or having a fear of making mistakes or not being good enough.

In other words, girls identifying with active and diverse main characters in stories helps to develop self-esteem. They believe that they are capable of being everything they dream of. For boys, reading books with female protagonists reinforces the idea that boys and girls are not that different and that both can be confident, sensitive, strong, dreamers, and more.

Book tips with girl protagonists

Playstories transform children into protagonists of personalized books, showing how special and unique they are. So, in any of our more than 70 stories, both girls and boys can be the main characters.

Still, we have separated some particularly inspiring stories below, which feature female characters that accompany the child on incredible adventures while serving as an example and reference for the new generation of readers.

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