The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (1944)

Wanda Petronski is a shy, immigrant girl attending elementary school in a small Connecticut town.   She wears the same faded blue dress every day to school.  One day Wanda quietly claims to own 100 dresses “all lined up in my closet.”   Peggy, the most popular girl in class, knows this has to be a lie and begins taunting Wanda every day about the dresses: are they all silk?  are some of them velvet? does she own 100 shoes too?  The teasing goes on and on, before school, during recess and on Wanda’s walk home.

dress.jpgPeggy’s best friend Maddie is also poor and wears hand-me-down dresses, but she is afraid to stand up for Wanda — afraid that she’ll be Peggy’s next victim.  Finally Wanda’s father pulls her out of school because of the teasing and the family moves away.  Maddie feels terrible that she never stood up for Wanda.  Can she ever apologize and make the situation right?  And does it turn out to be true that Wanda really did have 100 dresses?

This thoughtful book from the 1940s about bullying and repentance is based on a personal experience of the author as a young girl.  She was Maddie.

Why is it that bullying is so prevalent?  This tender Newbery Medal Winner will touch and soften your children’s hearts and start a good dialogue in your home.

Early Grade Reading Level, 96 pages, Newbery Medal Winner, Published in 1944.

About kidsbooksworthreading

Are you looking for Children’s and Young Adult books that have stood the test of time? I have a master of list of over 600 titles to share. I’m an English major, mother of five and homeschooler for 15 years. My purpose with this blog is to share forgotten favorites that most parents today have never heard of, but are so worth reading! I hope you’ll join with me as I share the best that Youth Literature has to offer.
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