The book is called The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. Many people may have heard of this book, but I stumbled upon it on a reading list last year. It was originally published in the 40's and is loosely based on the author's elementary school experiences. It is about a girl, Wanda Petronski, who wears the same faded blue dress to school every day. After one day at school all the girls, especially one, teases the girl when she tells everyone that she has hundred dresses hanging in her closet, but still wears the same one to school everyday. Many events transpire during the book, but it is not only about the Polish girl, the girl who teases her, the other class mates who join in, but it is about the best friend of the girl who it the teaser. The best friend who herself was poor like Wanda, but chose to side with her best friend and join in the teasing. She felt bad for Wanda, but didn't want to say anything against it in fear she might be teased as well. She didn't want to tease, but followed the crowd. Later in the story Wanda and her family move away to get away from being the only Polish family in town and from being made fun of by their name. The girl later regrets all the times she joined in on the teasing and hopes to make amends. I will not spoil the ending, so you can read for yourself. It left me with these thoughts -
- How many times have you stood by allowed someone to make statements about someone that could hurt that person?
- Where you the one who joined in because everyone else was doing it? I saw this so many times in school, or may have joined in it(for which I am sorry), or maybe I was the one subjected to the teasing.
- Would you take up for the person who was being teased and risk potentially being ridiculed yourself?
I told the girls that I hoped that they would stick up for their friends and become friends with the friendless. Christ did this for us, despite the cost it was for Him. What would you do?
I recommend this for parents to read to your children, and ask them what would they do if faced with this.