Title: Jacob’s new dress
Author: Sara and Ian Hoffman
Illustrator: Chris Case
Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
Age group: 4 and up
Availability: available online
This heart warming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles. Jacob who likes to wear dresses at home, convinces his parents to let him wear a dress to school too.
Jacob likes to play dress up with his friend Emily but he prefers to pretend that he is a princess rather than a knight or a policeman. He is bullied by other students for the way he dresses up as they find it inappropriate.
Jacob tells his parents that he is often bullied in the school and one of the boys says that boys can’t wear dresses. But the former’s parents support him and respect his choices. They even help him in designing his own dress.
The story book shows how parents teachers and educators can make a difference in the lives of gender non-conforming children. The story talks about the struggle and cruelty faced by kids when they are a bit different from their peers. The book encourages discussions on gender sensitization, self confidence and respecting individuality.
The illustrations will touch your heart and they speak louder than words. They depict the mood of the story and evoke empathy and concern. The beautiful pictures show the emotions of Jacob in a realistic way.
It’s never too early to expose kids to certain topics that seem quintessential or critical. Developing empathy and compassion at early age in life is quite the need of the hour.
A book with a difference it expresses gender sensitization in a subtle yet astute and upbeat way.