What is a sissy?

See Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary for more about what a sissy is. This post is part of a four-part ‘series’ if you will here on The Story Carpet on Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Literature. I truly believe that literature for children should be *all-inclusive* – from the traditional fairy tales, nursery rhymes and stories to the contemporary picture books.

Tomie dePaola’s books are amazing traditionally set stories with an old world feel. Oliver Button Is a Sissy is one of dePaola’s stories that celebrates a young boy’s artistic talent and unique spirit. Oliver Button is termed a ‘sissy’ because he is not into sports nor was he good at it. He was active and coordinated – playing jump rope. He was artistic – reading books, drawing pictures, making paper dolls, designing costumes and putting on shows in his attic.

Oliver’s father is not happy and wants him to play sports with boys. Mother see’s his talent as a dancer/actor and wants him to join the talent show and take dancing lessons. His talent is not accepted at first. He has to prove himself at the Talent Show to prove he is not a sissy but a STAR.

I encourage parents and teachers to support the unique qualities of young children – allow them to explore and find their talents. Don’t squash their talents and dreams they may surprise you with amazing goals, dreams, talents and careers. And share books like this with your little ones.

*With the term all-inclusive I have come across some types of children’s literature that is not appropriate – pushing adult agendas, adult situations, graphic and even some of the traditional Sur La Lune fairy tales – and too adult oriented and graphic for children. But when literature depicts a child’s interests that deviate from social “norms” that should be accepted. Children should have the opportunity to read literature about other children and characters displaying unique qualities and talents. Not all boys will play sports, play with cars/trucks or actively rough house with other boys. And not all girls will play with dolls, wear dresses and have tea parties. *

Happy Reading and Learning.













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