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Friday, March 17, 2017

Childhood Favorites...The Hundred Dresses

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

Wanda is a Polish immigrant who wears the same faded dress each day, but talks about the hundred dresses she has at home. Peggy, a girl in her class, begins taunting and teasing her and Peggy's best friend Maggie stands to the side and doesn't interfere, event though she knows it's wrong. Maggie herself wears second-hand clothes and doesn't want to be teased if Peggy decides to bully someone else.

Wanda wins an art contest with one hundred drawings of dresses and her father moves his family to the city where they won't be the only immigrants and where his children won't be singled out. Peggy and Maggie realize too late that they can't apologize to Wanda because she has left, but Maggie vows she will never stand by and watch someone picked on again.

Looking back on this story, I realized that it is one of the best books about bullying. When I read it though, bullying wasn't a term we used. Nor were terms like peer pressure or self-esteem. It wasn't something discussed in the detail that it is now. Kids picked on kids and, for the most part, you just dealt with it. We have much more of an awareness now, but as I was growing up and certainly when this book was written, it wasn't a subject we talked about.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

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