Gender Book list

So this week, I have a list of books that I think have something interesting to say about gender. Most of these are older books. And I have an entire section devoted to Fantasy/sci-fi because I think that these books often have interesting explorations of these topics. And also a category of adult books that might be of interest to older teen readers. In the list below, one asterisk (*) means the main point of the story is that girls are awesome and they can do anything. Two asterisks (**) means that the main point is that boys are abandoned in the wilderness to survive.

Middle Grade

  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
  • The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
  • *The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • **Hatchet by Gary Paulson
  • *The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • **The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • Whirligig by Paul Fleischman
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Novels for Teens

Fantasy/Science Fiction

Adult Books For Mature Teen Readers:

  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • Sons and Lovers by D.H.Lawrence
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  • Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg
  • The Odyssey by Homer


  • The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
  • Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  • Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher
  •  Blind Spot: Hidden Biases Of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaj and Anthony G. Greenwald
  • Our Bodies, Ourselves
  • Changing Bodies, Changing Lives

In making these lists, I kind of intuitively feel out which books really have something to teach about the given issue. But that is a fine line and there is a lot I haven’t read. And it can be hard to articulate why I have included a book or haven’t. Anyway, I’m giving this disclaimer to say that if there is a book that you would like to see included, or if there is a book that you would like to know more about, just let me know. I’m just trying to be useful with these lists.

Again, the person who comments most this month will receive the whole Vampire Queen series from Rebecca Maizel. As always, thanks for stopping by!


About pamwatts

Writer, Reader, and Children's advocate
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