Buster Books drops gender labels

Buster Books drops gender labels

Michael O’Mara imprint Buster Books has promised to stop selling books as being “for boys” or “for girls” following an online campaign against gender labelling.

Buster titles already in print include The Girls’ Doodle Book by Andrew Pinder, The Girls' Book of Glamour: A Guide to Being a Goddess by Sally Jeffrie  and The Boys’ Book of Spycraft by Martin Oliver. But in a statement, the publisher said: “Our publishing is to make sure, going forward, all titles are gender neutral.”

Campaign group Let Toys Be Toys started calling for publishers to drop gendered titles in 2014, targeting companies such as Usborne and Igloo along with Buster Books, saying that gender labelling was lazy and could even lead to bullying.

An online petition, which got more than 8,000 signatories, said titles which specify gender sent the message that certain books are off-limits for girls or for boys and promoted "limiting gender stereotypes".

“How can a story or a colouring page be only for a girl or only for a boy? A good book should be open to anyone, and children should feel free to choose books that interest them,” said the campaign group. “It's time to let books be books.”

Many children’s publishers have already agreed to drop gender labels. Usborne said they would stop the practice in March 2014, swiftly followed by Parragon, Ladybird Books, Chad Valley and Dorling Kindersley.

Buster Books did not comment on the types of books it will publish moving forward, or say whether it will continue to sell books with gender labels that have already been printed.