We need to have a conversation about boys. This is the first line of the introduction (and originally the first line of the overview for my proposal) to my book about raising boys. Just yesterday (Thursday June 1), Raising Boys Who Do Better: A Hopeful Guide for a New Generation was published by DK (Penguin Random House).
I am thrilled to start seeing photos of readers with their copies and the response so far has been wonderful. It’s like people have been waiting for this book forever. I know I’ve been waiting for a book like this since my first son was born. They say you should write the book you need and this is definitely that book for me.
I’m far from the only person to be thinking about how to raise a boy in the 21st century. Nor am I the only woman or mother to be worrying about how our boys move through a world riddled with hyper-masculinity and TikTok misogynists. Plenty of authors before me have written books about raising boys. So what am I adding to this topic?
Raising Boys Who Do Better is partly about my experiences as a (Nigerian British) mother of two teenage sons and a stepson who is now in his 20s. The book examines some of the ideas around masculinity that we inherit and how this impacts the way we raise our sons. In the book I’ve also spoken with a variety of experts and authors who are parents too. Contributors include Guardian writer Tom Lamont who interviewed me in August 2021 for a cover story in The Observer titled How To Raise A Boy. When we spoke, I had told Tom that I’d been contemplating writing a book on this topic and the response from readers afterwards really kicked me into gear. Many seemed to connect with my concerns around bringing up boys in a big city like London and the challenges around raising Black boys in particular.
The book also includes insights from bestselling authors such as Eve Rodsky, Rob Delaney, Vanessa Walters and Chine McDonald, podcasters Lisa Lynn and Jen Audrie (Dear Patriarchy), Zahara Chowdhury (School Should Be) and Dr Cara Natterson (Puberty Podcast), psychologist Dr Deryl Goldenberg, educators Naz Ahsun and Zahara Chowdhury, street food pioneer Dom Cools-Lartigue, parenting coach Elaine Halligan, and gender equality advocates Elliott Rae (Music Football Fatherhood), Abi Wright (Festival of the Girl) and Kirstie Beaven (Sonshine magazine).
It was an honour to connect with Paul Kivel of the Oakland Men’s Project, who is a pioneer in the movement to promote a healthier version of masculinity. I am so grateful to all the people who agreed to be interviewed and shared their time and wisdom. I’m already lining up some talks with key voices, so watch this space!
Yesterday I celebrated with a delicious pancake brunch, courtesy of the mister. I also had a great time chatting on air with Shay of Sunny and Shay on BBC Radio London. This evening, I’ll be enjoying my first official book launch in person at a local bookshop. I’ll have some goodies to share on the blog and on my newsletter coming up soon.
Raising Boys Who Do Better is on sale now online and at all good bookshops. If you don’t see it stocked at your local bookshop, don’t hesitate to request it. And if you do buy a copy, please share an image on your social media with the hashtag #RaisingBoysWhoDoBetter and tagging me @babesabouttown. Thanks as always for your support!