There has always been a lack of trans representation in children’s literature, which is a shame because most transgender people say they felt like they were transgendered since they were a child. I don’t consider myself transgender but I remember spending countless hours in my head as a child constructing characters that didn’t conform to gender norms. 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray is a major step in filling the void. The story center’s around Bailey, a kid that dreams of beautiful dresses. She tells her parents her dreams of the beautiful dresses she dreamt herself wearing and is met with “Bailey, what are you talking about? You’re a boy. Boys don’t wear dresses.” Little does Bailey’s family realize, boys can wear dresses and dream up dresses that would easily make any judge on Project Runway smile.
It’s refreshing to see a story that allows a child to be everything they want to be. Bailey’s transformation isn’t easy but it isn’t overly difficult either, which makes the story appealing to people of all ages. I don’t think people should be scared to be who they are and this book helps make the world a less frightening place. Bailey meets an older girl that teaches Bailey how to make dresses. The older girl is less imaginative than Bailey so their friendship is a mutually beneficiary partnership: she helps Bailey create the fabulous dresses Bailey dreams.
10,000 Dresses makes a great gift for young people!