What is it about?

Jacob’s New Dress is about a young boy who wants to wear a dress. Jacob enjoys playing dress-up because during dress-up he gets to wear a dress. However, Jacob would like to wear a dress even when it is not time to play dress-up.


What we love about it:

Can boys wear dresses?

This is the question that Jacob’s New Dress sets out to answer. This book takes a close look at a specific challenge that Jacob encounters when he tries to break gender norms and wear a dress to school. For the most part, the people in Jacob’s life are supportive of his decision. However, we see some reluctance from his mother. She struggles because of how others might treat her son if he goes against what is considered normal for boys his age.

Jacob’s mom’s fear is realized when Jacob experiences bullying from one of his peers who insists that boys can’t wear dresses. His classmate, Christopher, is distressed by the idea that a boy in his class wants to wear a dress and vocalizes his discomfort several times throughout the book. Readers see how this affects Jacob, but how, ultimately, the support he receives from everyone else outweighs one negative voice.

This book teaches children that gender non-conforming children aren’t any different from children who adhere to more traditional gender expression. It also teaches children that everyone should be allowed to be who they are. Jacob’s New Dress asks, “Can boys wear dresses?”, and then answers, “You bet!”

For a reading of this book, check out this video: 

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