Wednesday, November 28, 2012

10000 Dresses

Ewert, Marcus. 2008. 10,000 Dresses. Ill. Rex Ray. New York: Seven Stories Press.  ISBN 978-1-58322-850-0.
Bailey dreams about dresses every night.  10,000 dresses in all.  The only problem is that Bailey is a boy.  His parents don't understand but he finds a kindred spirit in a girl who loves to make dresses.

10,000 Dresses is a simple introduction to the concept of transgender.  Bailey, though technically a boy refers to himself as her and feels like a girl.  His parents and older brother tell him that these feelings are wrong or even gross, but he finds acceptance with Laurel who loves dresses as much as he does. 

While the story of ultimate acceptance is wonderful, the young audience for whom the book is intended will most likely be confused by the use of both he and she for Bailey.  Further, the artwork created for the book is very gender neutral which also complicates the issue.  Transgender is a complicated issue and this book could in fact cause more questions then answers.  However, the book is a wonderful starting point for children who are transgender or know someone who is transgender.

The first book of its kind, 10,000 Dresses has received wide critical acclaim, awards and honors from the American Library Association, and has become a staple of anti-bullying curricula throughout North America. It’s also been banned a few times!

"I had a graduate student come up to my reference desk the other day asking for picture books where the characters acted out non-traditional gender roles. When this happens (and it happens more than you would think) I tend to begin with the stories that can be interpreted multiple ways, like The Story of Ferdinand. Then I pluck out The Paper Bag Princess, Elena's Serenade, and William's Doll. The piece de resistance is our very special copy of X: A Fabulous Child's Story which you will not find circulating in just any library system, thank you very much. However, the book I most wanted to show off was 10,000 Dresses."—School Library Journal   "If you are a member of an LGBT family with young children, or the friend or ally of an LGBT family with young children, and want to expose your children to what the broad LGBT community looks like, you need to expose yourself and these children to the picture book 10,000 Dresses."—Pam's House Blend   "Bailey may continue to inspire families in new ways with her bravery and artistic vision."—Bay Windows, New England's Largest GLBT Newspaper   "Bailey is a wonderful creation, but then again so are the dresses she dreams up; the illustrations by Rex Ray have a sleek, artful look."—Edge Boston   "Marcus Ewert's 10,000 Dresses is a joyous book about self-acceptance and identity. It is also the only children's picture book that features an openly transgender protagonist, and does so with both sensitivity and celebration."—Philadelphia Gay News   "It is a wonderful story that lets you see the world through the eyes of a gender variant child."—Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Newsletter   "Great for any kid who knows someone who is different or who may feel a little different themselves sometimes."—Rainbow Rumpus   "This charming book offers a subtle and touching approach to introducing kids to the maze of gender identity." —GT/Gaytimes(UK)

Read an interview with the author at
Read Be Who You Are by Jennifer Carr (information on the book is found here

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