Boys are being put off reading because of the influence women have on children's literature, says an award-winning British children's author.

Jonathan Emmett warned that children's books were too girly because of the influence of mostly female panels of editors, publishers, reviewers and judges.

One publishing company's research suggested women bought 95 per cent of picture books for children, he added.

The writer believes boys are being starved of what they enjoy in books, such as swashbuckling pirates, battles, or technical details about space ships and so are driven to more action-packed video games instead.


"Mums and grans buy books - that's what's driving the market," Mr Emmett, author of Pigs Might Fly, told The Times. "They read the book also and there's a tendency for the book to reflect their tastes as well."

A gap in reading ability is already apparent between boys and girls at five, according to a UK parliamentary commission report. This translates into a year's difference in reading skills as they go through school.

- The Daily Mail