My regular readers know that I have a four year-old son who likes princesses. I’ve gone through several incarnations of four year-olds, each of them have had various interests and attachments. Scooby-Doo, baseball, The Naked Brothers Band, Indiana Jones, Spider-Man, The Pink Panther, Bob the Builder, The Backyardigans. If Alex wants to wear a princess dress, I don’t judge or see it as being any weirder than David wanting to wear a suit jacket and bow tie, or Cameron’s weird rock star get-up that involved tying socks around his ankles and wearing a stocking cap in the middle of summer.
So at the library today, the poor kid just wanted to check out a princess book. He couldn’t find one. I was reading, and thought he was just being whiny, so I sent him to look again. He came back, and insisted he needed help because he looked, and couldn’t find a princess book anywhere. So I started browsing through bin after bin of brightly illustrated children’s books.
I combed the entire juvenile fiction section. I found books about: adoption, teachers with cancer, Native Americans, conservation, elephants with peanut allergies, grandparents who have Alzheimer’s disease, divorced parents, Kwanzaa, healthy eating, mommies who are engineers, outcast penguins, hurricanes, deaf monkeys, blind horses, selfish little girls, geese who had to move away from their squirrel friends, naughty schoolkids, house fires, Quinceañera, bunnies with broken legs, living in the city, Easter, Christmas, Ramadan, Halloween, witches, Valentine’s Day, Eskimos, toads, frogs, mice, cats, dogs, puppies, giraffes, hippos, snakes, eagles, parrots, lions, snowflakes, cooking, ballerinas, farmers, hockey, China, construction workers, music, and cowboy bullies.
But seriously, not ONE book with a princess in it.
While I understand the importance of introducing new subjects to kids through books, and think literature is a wonderful way to explore sensitive or hard to understand subjects, and appreciate the diverse selections available, have we come so far as a politically correct society that we can’t stock the county library with a few girly, pink books? Are we so whipped up about sending the wrong message to girls, that we can’t allow them to indulge in a little princess infatuation from time to time?
I know if I go to any retail book store I’ll find princesses galore. Why? Because that’s what people buy. Not sure why the library is on a mission to deny the public what they want, or if it’s their place to dictate what is and isn’t available for kids to read.
Or maybe I’m overreacting, and the princess books are just all checked out. I know I’ve seen one or two there before.
I just wanted my little guy to find himself a princess book because it makes him furiously happy.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012