A while ago an article appeared on my Facebook feed that was called 11 Things Only Parents of Boys Understand. This type of article drives me crazy; I never agree with the things on the list and usually find that you could cut out the “boys” part and just call the list “Things That Parents of Children Understand.” But a couple of things on this particular list did jump out at me, in particular the point about how a son will form a definite preference about Marvel vs. DC Comics superheroes (I have no idea how my son, who certainly hasn’t gotten this information from his parents, decided he loves DC Comics and doesn’t care much for Marvel!) In some ways, having a son is such a mystery, and not just in how he forms such strong opinions on superheroes. A few books I’ve turned to are:
Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World: In this book Rosalind Wiseman, the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes (the basis for the movie Mean Girls) turns to boys. After interviewing 200 boys, Wiseman breaks down the various social challenges teenage boys face.
The Boy Who Loved Batman: A Memoir: The author of this book, Michael E. Uslan, grew up to produce all the Batman feature films. Before that though, he was a kid growing up in 1950’s New Jersey who just really, really liked Batman. As someone who didn’t find comics until I was an adult, and not really the superhero ones, this book is a fascinating look at someone who grew up on superhero comics.
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys: As a society, we’re no longer as entrenched in the belief that boys are somehow less emotional creatures than girls, but ideas of masculinity and femininity still influence how we expect boys or girls to react emotionally. This book addresses the stereotypical masculine “ideal” and looks at ways parents can provide their sons with “emotional literacy.”
It’s a Boy! Understanding Your Son’s Development From Birth to Age 18: This is a pretty basic book on child development, but focused solely on boys.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman has always been my favorite superhero, and fortunately my son loves her too (not quite as much as Batman, but she’s a close second!). This book explores the recently discovered papers of William Moulton Marsten, the creator of Wonder Woman (and the lie detector test!). Feminism, biography, superheroes…this book has it all!