By: Marcus Ewert
Illustrated by: Rex Ray
A Stonewall Honor Book
10,000 Dresses is a story about a boy named Bailey who dreams of dresses every night. Beautiful dresses that Bailey longs to wear. Bailey wakes up and tells her (yes I said her because the author wrote her this way) family about the dresses but they tell her she's a boy and boys don't wear dresses. Bailey tells them "but I don't feel like a boy." She finally finds an older girl who is trying to make dresses and she tells her some of her ideas. They make two mirror dresses and both wear them with plans to make more of Bailey's dreams.
This book opened up a whole new world of books for me. I have never thought about this topic or questioned are there books for transgender people? I guess it's just not something I have not come across. With that being said, I think this is a great book for anyone in that community or for anyone that wants to explain the topic to a young child. Bailey is a fabulous character. He looks like a boy and is told to act like a boy. But loves beautiful dresses and in the end learns it's important to be yourself and be true to who you are. The girl at the end even tells Bailey "You're the coolest girl I've ever met." The author does a great job of making the story believable and something that young transgender girls or boys can identify with. It even touches on the fact that your family may not believe you or understand you. His brother even tells him "you dream about dresses, Bailey? That's gross. You're a boy! Get out of here, before I kick you!" I found this to be very sad for Bailey but at the same time I imagine this happens to anyone that is transgender at sometime in their life. Someone has probably bullied or not agreed with the way they see themselves. Like I said I have absolutely no experience or know anyone to ask if this is true but I fill like with the way people are it would definitely happen. So I believe Ewert did a great job of getting people to stop and think about what they are saying to others as well as tell everyone no matter who they are to be true to themselves and to seek out people that help you to do that.
The illustrations in this story were ok but did not leave a lasting impression on me. They were done it what looks to be cut paper style much like Eric Carle does his illustrations. Ray is a graphic artist and seems to have done more work in the art field than in the picture book world. The illustrations just did not seem to match the fact that Bailey wanted to feel beautiful in dresses. The dresses themselves were not even that beautiful looking but more weird. It was almost as if the pictures were too cartoonist to me to match the real topic of the story. I did however like the last dress that was made of mirrors and Bailey and her friend could see themselves in it.
I am not sure how this book would be addressed in a school. I believe it does have a great message for all no matter what your gender and for those struggling with anything, but I also think it would be a controversial book to read to a group of children that are not mine.