Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

This book tells the story of a little girl named Wanda Petronski. She’s not like her classmates, she has a funny name and wears the same faded-blue dress to school every day. Though she wears the same dress everyday Wanda claims to have one hundred dresses lined up in her closet at home. Her claim among other things makes her a target for the bullying by several other girls in her class Eventually, the bullies come to find out that Wanda did have one hundred dresses and also find out how their teasing game effected Wanda.
I think this book addresses many issues related to social justice such as immigration, poverty, and bullying. I think it does a good job of showing how bullying does not always have to be a physical assault and that words can really hurt. I also like how these issues of social justice are intertwined and that the book addresses the effects these issues have on children.
This website offers some lessons on how to use the book to engage students in a discussion about having courage and standing up for things they know are wrong
I think this book addresses these levels of social justice: Stage 2 because it teaches students that people that are different from them have talents and qualities that they can appreciate. Stage 3 because it explores the issues of poverty, immigration/racism, and bullying. I think that this book could definitely be used to motivate students to work for change especially through such lessons that put them in a characters role and challenge the students to act in a way that may be different from their normal manner.

1 comment:

  1. I also read this book, and it is one of my favorites. I think it can be taken in many different directions. My latest revelation about how to use this book is as a spring board for discussions of morality as well as the morality of a silent bystander to injustice. Other ideas that can be taken from the book are:
    1. bullying and teasing
    2. class differences
    3. making good choices