14 introduction Josh Thompson and Stephen Garretson observe that our directors and principals, mentors, and coteachers—mostly women—helped us find our places in the profession (“Encouraging Men in Their Con- versations with Children”). “Our parents, particularly our moms, and our wives supported the development of our voices and our lives among children. Our fathers contributed to our construction of our gendered identity—what it means to be male, even in a world of female early childhood educators” (p. 102). Thompson and Garretson invite us to encourage men in their conversations with children. They discuss the different ways men converse with young children, share their experi- ences as male teachers in our predominantly female profession, and talk about how they acquired their gender identity. As I read this chapter, I am reminded of my own many biases about male teachers in early childhood classrooms, including how I used to have to confront my dis- comfort when I witnessed rough-and-tumble play. I am most grateful for Thompson’s and Garretson’s suggestion that their female counter- parts might have to think outside the box and find out more about the language of men in the lives of children. Two of the chapters in this book take a look at how children’s books and literary experiences determine gender roles or help boys and girls specifically learn literacy and socio-emotional skills. Clarissa M. Uttley and Cynthia A. Roberts detail how gender identity is portrayed in chil- dren’s books by analyzing the roles of the heroes in the stories as well as the types of roles taken by the characters (“Gender Portrayal in Early Childhood Children’s Books”). For example, they show how the male characters in children’s books are more adventurous and independent than the female characters, who are nurturing and dependent. This is particularly interesting to me because a few years ago I wrote about the same type of stereotypical gender roles in Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree in my own book Confronting Our Discomfort: Clearing the Way for Anti-Bias in Early Childhood (2003). Because books can affect gender role socialization, Uttley and Roberts suggest a list of books that can support children in developing healthy gender identities. In contrast, Debby Zambo uses picture books as a way of helping boys and girls develop not only literacy intelligence but socio-emotional skills as well (“Using Picture Books and Literary Experiences to Help Boys and Girls Develop Literacy and Socio-Emotional Skills”). Using the illustrations to describe different feelings, Zambo gives the reader strategies to help young children self-regulate their emotions, while at the same time nurturing their love of reading. The ideas and strategies