Strong characters wanted

The presents have been unwrapped, my house now refilled with fire trucks, transformers, and even a starter skateboard – you know, typical boy stuff. I swear if I still get the occasional adult acne it is because of all the testosterone I am exposed to daily in a house full of growing males.

My mom stopped by to enjoy a cup of coffee while the grandkids tore into their gifts. She offered to take my eldest son to see either Frozen or Walking with Dinosaurs later this week. My son, not being familiar with either movie needed a description to help in his decision making process. Frozen lost out the moment princesses were mentioned.

I had read that Frozen was supposed to be inspired by the old story of the Snow Queen and was somewhat surprised when I read how it had been adapted this time for the big screen. The original story was one of the first fairy tales I could remember reading which featured the girl coming to the rescue of the boy, but it seems that this retelling has made it more sugary sweet than the original. I guess I’ll probably never know for certain though.

Over the years, I have been somewhat bothered by how rare the theme of the strong female coming to the rescue seems to be, particularly in children’s and young adult stories / films. The Paper bag Princess, Brave, and The Ask and the Answer (the sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go, Chaos Walking series), being notable exceptions. The recent princess trend thoroughly embraced by my nieces occasionally makes me shudder and glad to only have sons (though I admit they are adorable in their princess dresses – my nieces that is).

My novel, An Uncertain Faith, could be classified as Women’s fiction because it features a woman dealing with her marriage, motherhood, and her career. Why is this a subcategory? Is there such as thing as Men’s fiction? If so, what would be the criteria for inclusion? Would the book have to deal with sports, cars, and bodily gases? Oh right its just called fiction. Women do enjoy sports, cars, and some might even appreciate a good fart joke from time to time. Why then are books about family and marriage separated out or otherwise made to seem as if they are off limits?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself a feminist. No, I like to think I am a gender equal opportunist. I am equally bothered by how few children’s stories and shows contain a present / involved, intelligent, and caring father. Up anyone? I still get angry at the kid’s dad in that movie, and where was Max’s father in the book, Where the Wild Things Are? Max is after the dog! Someone redirect and get mom some wine! Stat!

My children are truly blessed to have such a father. I love him dearly as my spouse, but I positively adore him as a parent to our sons. He tucks them in to bed and reads them stories just as much as I do. Yet we are always reading about how much the mom loves the child, misses the child, and vice versa with only the rarest mention of dad. Its a wonder my husband hasn’t gotten a complex yet. If anyone would like to recommend a good children’s book out there (kindergarten reading level) that features both parents equally, I’d love to hear from you.

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