Guess what? I often succeed. How? First, I tell the hopeful reader about the story, why I like it, and why I think he or she will like it too. I make book recommendations based on the reader's personality, literacy, and interests, not on the gender of the reader, the writer, or the protagonist.
You'll find that most books - gasp! - have both female and male characters. Many books have a definite leading character, but that character most likely interacts with other characters. Plenty of books for kids have scenes at home and school, with parents, siblings, neighbors, classmates, and teachers. Between two book covers, you'll discover a new population of people and/or critters.
Now, this may or may not surprise you, but adults also say, "That looks like a girl book!" and "That looks like a boy book!" I told a parent about a great book about gymnasts, only to hear, "Ah, but gymnastics is for girls, and I have a son." Pardon me, but boys are gymnasts too. They are also incredible dancers.
Both genders can play any sport.
Boys and girls can play on the same team.
As you can tell, I don't like double standards, and I don't like gender bias.
Consider the following phrases:
"You throw like a girl."
"She's such a tomboy."
"Boys are doctors, not nurses."
"Presidents aren't girls."
Do you say these things?
Do you think these things?
Do you find any of them offensive?
Why assume that someone can or can't do something simply based on whether that person is male or female?
I encourage you to recognize talent and achievement wherever they may be, and not base things upon gender. Let someone's words, abilities, and actions be more important than their genetic code. Please encourage your friends, siblings, children, and students to do the same.
Talent knows no gender lines and has no gender bias.
You can do anything you set your mind to if you work hard enough.
Good books can and should be read by both genders and by all ages.
Discerning readers want to read (and will appreciate) a good book, period.
View all Bildungsroman posts which include a discussion of gender bias.
Hey There, Sports Fan
I am a Dancer
Mining the Field and Challenging Readers
Gender Bias: Holiday Gifts