There are a lot of times when childhood is broken down into boys vs. girls. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like when teaching pre-teens about what the crap is up with their changing anatomy.
And sometimes it’s a bad thing, like when you assume boys want to be action heroes and girls want to be useless princesses.
1. How to Survive a shark attack
2. How to Survive in a Forest
3. How to Survive Frostbite
4. How to Survive a Plane Crash
5. How to Survive in the Desert
6. How to Survive a Polar Bear Attack
7. How to Survive a Flash Flood
8. How to Survive a Broken Leg
9. How to Survive an Earthquake
10. How to Survive a Forest Fire
11. How to Survive in a Whiteout
12. How to Survive a Zombie Invasion
13. How to Survive a Snakebite
14. How to Survive if Your Parachute Fails
15. How to Survive a Croc Attack
16. How to Survive a Lightning Strike
17. How to Survive a T-Rex
18. How to Survive Whitewater Rapids
19. How to Survive a Sinking Ship
20. How to Survive a Vampire Attack
21. How to Survive an Avalanche
22. How to Survive a Tornado
23. How to Survive Quicksand
24. How to Survive a Fall
25. How to Survive a Swarm of Bees
26. How to Survive in Space
Man those seem like some really cool scenarios that balance the outlandish (T-Rex Attack) with legitimately useful knowledge like how to survive a tornado. All packaged in an easily accessible, non-scary graphic novel format with step-by step instructions.
The girl version should, in theory, be just as useful and action oriented right?
1. How to survive a BFF Fight
2. How to Survive Soccer Tryouts
3. How to Survive a Breakout
4. How to Show You’re Sorry
5. How to Have the Best Sleepover Ever
6. How to Take the Perfect School Photo
7. How to Survive Brothers
8. Scary Survival Dos and Don’ts
9. How to Handle Becoming Rich
10. How to Keep Stuff Secret
11. How to Survive Tests
12. How to Survive Shyness
13. How to Handle Sudden Stardom
14. More Stardom Survival Tips
15. How to Survive a Camping Trip
16. How to Survive a Fashion Disaster
17. How to Teach Your Cat to Sit
18. How to Turn a No Into a Yes
19. Top Tips for Speechmaking
20. How to Survive Embarrassment
21. How to Be a Mind Reader
22. How to Survive a Crush
23. Seaside Survival
24. How to Soothe Sunburn
25. How to Pick Perfect Sunglasses
26. Surviving a Zombie Attack
27. How to Spot a Frenemy
28. Brilliant Boredom Busters
29. How to Survive Truth or Dare
30. How to Beat Bullies
31. How to be an Amazing Babysitter
What the hell did I just read? Did I time travel to 1950? Nope, I’m still writing this article on my computer in the year 2012. How did this dreck get published?
The worst part is even the “girl” chapters that seem to veer into actual survival situations are a smoke screen. Scary Survival in Chapter 8 covers crucial things like not throwing things at a ghost because you’ll piss it off. Surviving a camping trip includes life-saving “fresh air is good for your complexion” tips. Live through a day at the beach by tying your hair back and not wearing heels. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if zombie survival in Chapter 26 entirely consisted of “find a man”.
These books are written for kids aged 8+ which seems kind of young to instill the systematic delineation of appropriate gender activities. But what do I know? I only have a 7 year old. Maybe by next year I’ll want her to know the best way to teach her cat to sit instead of how to keep calm with a broken leg.
I reached out to Scholastic Books for comment and they referred me to a press release posted to their blog today:
Many readers have expressed concerns about our How to Survive Anything titles, and we want to thank you for your passionate responses. The two titles have had very limited distribution to date, and no further copies will be made available.
Please check out the many other titles kids can discover this summer on our summer reading booklists, available on our Summer Challenge page and our Pinterest boards.
Again, we thank you for your feedback.
While they aren’t going to pull the books from shelves, they assert no more copies will be published.