The Hundred Dresses
Through Wanda’s experience with school bullies, kids learn how to stick up for themselves.
I say this often about the books I read when I was younger, but The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes really had a profound impact on me as a kid, and I’ve carried its sentiments through my adult life.
The Hundred Dresses tells the story of Wanda Petronski, a girl who is unlike everyone else in her class and is constantly ridiculed on the playground. Wanda’s fault, the other children decide, is her insistence that she owns a hundred beautiful dresses all lined up in her closet when she only wears the same blue dress every day. When Wanda stops showing up to school, the students first miss their playground bullying, but their emotions quickly turn to regret and empathy.
I grew up in an international community, so navigating differences was a constant experience. When I read The Hundred Dresses in the third grade, I learned that it takes courage to stand up for what’s right and appreciate everyone’s strengths and differences. I’d highly recommend this book for any kid that’s feeling anxious about making friends or navigating social situations.