Ladybird drops gender branding from its books

The publisher behind the much-loved Peter and Jane books will no longer tag its books for 'girls' or 'boys'

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The Independent Culture

Children’s publisher Ladybird is no-longer targeting Peter and Jane separately. After 100 years it has decided to drop gender branding from its books.

The publisher, responsible for Ladybird Favourite Fairy Tales for Girls and Ladybird Favourite Stories for Boys, said it did not want to be seen as “limiting children in any way.”

It is the latest to endorse a campaign to remove gender appropriate marketing from books.

“The sign-posting of 'for boys' and 'for girls' was initially to make it easier for purchasers, for example for grandparents, buying gifts," said Heather Crossley of Ladybird.

The publisher said that out of hundreds of titles currently in print only six have gender-specific titling.

“We don’t wish to publish anything that limits a child’s imagination. Children should be free to use their imaginations to find the best stories for them,”  said Francesca Dow, MD Penguin Random House Children.

A petition by Let Books Be Books against gender branding garnered more than 6,500 signatures.

It now has commitments from seven publishers to remove labels for “girls” or “boys”. These include Chad Valley, Parragon, Usborne  and Dorling Kindersley.

"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," Let Books Be Books asked.