Some people are getting very angry & upset about the pronoun 'they/them' over 'he/him'. I'm going to share a personal story which reveals something about the root of that anger using the example of beloved children's book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

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In reply to @DadTrans
Dear Zoo was one of my favourite books as a child, & when my daughter was born we were gifted a copy by friends. It was one of the first books we read to her. Reading to children is one of the joys of being a parent & the single best thing for helping language development
When I read to my kids I change the pronouns all the time. In our house Dear Zoo has a female monkey and a gender neutral frog...
A great example, and an easy use-case – Bug loved this book, and I'd replace the male pronouns with the animal names, eg The lion was too loud. I think it actually worked better! Interrogate why pronouns are gendered, and you'll be surprised how often it's unnecessary.
I read a while back (unfortunately after I had read it to my daughter) about a parent who changed all the pronouns in the hobbit when reading it to their daughter. I intend to do the same when I read it to my son. :)
I’ve been reading bedtime stories to my sons for 5 yrs. I’ve been changing Mum/Mummy to Granny/Aunty that whole time. Why? Because at bedtime I don’t think they need to be reminded of a loss they perceive or of their adoption story. They just need to drift off to sleep contendly.
A brilliant example of how almost all characters in kids books are male (even when they’re animals!)

We need to challenge the narrative that prioritises male characters & ignores female ones!

Why does gender even have to be specified?


Thread ⤵️
In reply to @DadTrans
My 3 year old is VERY into wanting to know if ANYTHING is a boy/girl (I was told it's a stage of trying to put the world in order or something). I tell her we don't get to decide if someone is a boy or a girl; they tell us who they are. #ireallyhopeiamdoingthisright
YES. I’ve been changing pronouns in books when reading to my kids for years, changing pronouns in songs (‘A sailor went to sea sea sea to see what she could see see see...’), consciously referring to animals as ‘she.’ Language is important. It shapes how we define the world.
I love this thread, and over the last few years have been using non-gendered language in every appropriate situation.
In reply to @DadTrans
@DadTrans you never cease to amaze me with your perception and wisdom. 👏👏
This is a good thread. If you have kids in your life, think about using they/them for characters/toys/pets. It's a concrete thing you can do that will make a huge difference to real people, now and in the future
In reply to @DadTrans
All of the above! I also read him Where's My Cow, by Terry Pratchett. After all, Commander Sam Vimes read it to his son every evening at 6o' clock!
I realised and then did this. And actively sought inclusive books for my offspring. There weren’t that many around 20 years ago. There are now. It’s not “PC gone mad” (whatever that is); it’s representation. It’s refusing to let others control what your children see as “normal.”
"The too big elephant, the too tall giraffe, the too naughty monkey (my personal favourite). All of them are males. It's not just Dear Zoo. Overwhelmingly the books we read to our children are filled with male characters."
Seriously, though, this. And I wanna tell you a story.

A couple of years ago, I went to Orana Park with my ex and his mother, who has a number of medical issues. And as we're walking through, I notice my ex is referring to every single animal as "he".
In reply to @DadTrans
We love Dear Zoo! But I agree with you. Check out this puzzle that someone gave my daughter...the only female pieces are a teacher & nurse. 🤦‍♀️
Ahh!! I love this book! But that aside, a very important thread on gender representation (or rather, lack thereof) in children's books.
Let's see some female monkeys and non-binary giraffes!! (Melman is non-binary in my mind despite them being written as male).
Thoughtful thread here. Think about the messages we send with our choices. Obvious with human representation (the need for diverse characters AND authors) but we can also take a critical look at many kids’ book with animal protagonists.
this. all day. ⬇️
Take note, book-lovers and also, just people-lovers in general.
for people working with children as well
This whole thread. Unnecessary gendering can get in the bin.
In reply to @DadTrans
This book is the perfect example! Always switch pronouns as I read to my kids - her, him and the occasional they
This is such a great thread ...
In reply to @DadTrans
This is brilliant! Even though I know it it is so easy to fall into collusion. The constant need to observe the powerful detail can be hard especially when you're busy and sleep deprived, but nonetheless so important! It's a constant need.
In reply to @DadTrans
my kids loved this book and I never noticed that...
Read this thread, it's amazing! So thought-provoking!
Agree, using the pronouns a person uses is vital. Read the whole thread for added perspective as to the reasons.
This is a good thread
Excellent thread, I catch myself doing this all the time and it needs to stop!
Reading The Magician’s Nephew at the mo. This. So this.
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