Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

10,000 Dresses

Author: Marcus Ewert
Illustrator: Rex Ray
Grade Level: K-4

Element 2: Respect For Others

Summary: 10,000 Dresses is about a transgender boy, Bailey, who dreams up 10,000 different dresses and hopes that one day she could wear them all. The only problem is that when she tells her mom and dad about her dreams, they both reply with “uh-huh” and “you’re a boy and boy’s don’t wear dresses.” Bailey also tells her brother who calls her gross for wanting dress. By the end of the book, Bailey meets Laurel who with the help of Bailey sews and creates a dress made of mirrors.

How does it represent SJE2? 10,000 dresses promotes acceptance of both self and others in the community. Introducing transgender in a classroom could be confusing, but I think that by using this book it will make it a lot easier for most students. It shows how there are some people who will judge you because they don’t agree with something you believe in, but if you push through that, you will always find someone who agrees with what you believe in, and if that’s a boy wanting to dress up in beautiful dresses, it’s okay.

How would I use it? An interesting approach to this book would be to ask the classroom why it’s okay for girls to wear t-shirts and pants, but why society says it’s not okay for girls to wear dresses or skirts for example. I would have the classroom split up into small groups of 2-4 students and I would have the girls draw a boy wearing what they believe girls should wear and boys draw a girl with what boys should wear. Once they’re done with that, I would have them reflect on their picture and ask them how would they react if this was a friend or family member.

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