One of the easiest way to introduce or reinforce a concept in the impressionable mind of a toddler or a preschooler is to do it through picture books. And when the concept is about the gender, there probably is no better way than books, with the caveat that our own behaviour and attitude follows what we are reading to the children.
Pink or Blue
Author: Ritu Vaishnav
Illustrator : Vishnu M Nair
Publisher : Puffin India
An innocent child probably understands pink as girls’ colour and blue as boys’ before she starts understanding the difference in genders. And it’s not their fault, it’s the omnipresence of these symbols whichever side they turn their heads to. The book ‘Pink and Blue‘ is a very thoughtful attempt on the author’s part to break free the children of the stereotypes when it comes to gender. In a very subtle and simple, yet very effective language, Ritu Vaishnav makes the children and their parents think of all the little things that we see and hear all around, but hardly realise that they are actually putting people, esp girls and boys in slots.
With gentle play of words, and some lovely illustrations by Vishnu M Nair, the book very firmly brings home the point that we are all free to love pink or blue or any other color, to cry when we feel like, and to cut our hair or grow them long. And that you don’t have to be a girl or a boy to do something. All that matters is that you are a caring and kind human being. That in spite of, or rather because of your nonconformity, your individuality is what makes you special.
The book is a great conversation starter with preschoolers. The style of narration, as well as the examples are things that the kids see all around them, and can relate to very easily. The very attractive illustrations are a bonus, and will make the children come back to the book again, and again. Which, trust us, is a very good thing – because it will inspire them to question every notion that someone tries to plant in their heads without giving any reason! And when the children ask the question, the society has a chance to improve!