A few years ago, Conn and Hal Iggulden came out with a fascinating book of facts, stories, instructions, and activities that opened doors of possibility for any curious mind willing to explore. Instructions on how to tie knots. Factoids on dinosaurs. Stories of famous battles and extraordinary feats of invention and derring-do. An introduction to astronomy. Guides to making secret inks and mastering the art of skipping stones. A survey of the fifty American states and a discussion of the Declaration of Independence. A history of the Golden Age of Pirates. Guides to performing coin tricks, making pinhole projectors, cracking codes and ciphers, playing chess, tracing the roots of words, growing sunflowers, and identifying the constellations in the night sky.
In short, a lot of Cool Stuff that our daughter has shown interest in, and so much more. A perfect book for her to dip into and investigate the nooks and crannies of knowledge.
The book’s title? The Dangerous Book for Boys.
I bought it for her anyway.
Along with Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz’s Daring Book for Girls — with its instructions on how to press flowers, tie a sari, and put your hair up with a pencil (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those things). It also has lots of cool information on making snowballs, karate moves, women inventors and scientists, building a campfire, the U.S. Bill of Rights, and how to change a tire — things that boys would (or should) be interested in too, and I recommend that parents of boys get this book as well.
Because boys and girls have a right to all that information. Regardless of the color of the book cover, the gender in the title, and the sexist bullshit we all still have to put up with in the twenty-first century.
This afternoon, we were browsing in a neighborhood bookstore and our daughter came across a trove of new guidebooks “for boys” and “for girls.” She was intrigued by some of them and asked if we could check them out of the library.
“Sure,” I said, bringing out pencil and paper. “Which titles are you interested in?”
“Well, not The Girls’ Book of Glamour,” she said, scrunching her face up. “I want to see if the library has The Boys’ Book of Survival.”
(Image via Chapel Hill Comics)