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Jacob's New Dress by Sarah Hoffman

Jacob's New Dress

by Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman

Other authors: Chris Case (Illustrator)

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Jacob is a young boy that likes to use his imagination and likes to wear dresses. Some of the kids do not understand this, and tease Jacob, but with the support of his parent, teacher, and friends he embraces his imagination and love for dresses, even making his own dress. This book is great to address the subject of gender-nonconforming.
Source: Pierce College Library ( )
  jorr37 | Aug 14, 2017 |
Summary: Jacob's New Dress is about a little boy named Jacob who loves to play dress up at school with his friend Emily, but is made fun of by another child named Christopher for always wearing girl clothes. Jacob also likes to dress up in his Halloween witch dress at home, but Mom says he can't wear it to school. Jacob decides to make his own dress out of a giant bath towel, and is allowed to wear it to school, but Christopher rips it off of Jacob, and makes fun of him. Finally, Jacob's mom agrees to help him make a dress at home to wear to school. Mom and Dad agree to let him wear it to school, and Jacob has fun playing on the monkey bars with Emily- even when Christopher says boys can't wear dresses, and tells him he has to be on the girls team at recess. Jacob feels like his dress is soft, cottony armor, and is so proud of it- he doesn't worry about anything else!

Personal Connection: I again, loved that this book challenges gender norms, and the way in which the quotes "there are lots of different ways to be a boy" is used in the text. I also liked how Jacob describes his feelings when he is waiting for his mom decide if he can wear a dress of not- saying he felt like "he couldn't breathe" while she was thinking. You can tell it is a really big deal for him, and feels like an honest story about Jacob.

-Meet the author & book reading: https://www.teachingbooks.net/book_reading.cgi?id=10345
-> the author talks about their own son Sam, as well as gender creative and gender nonconforming aspects
-Personal website for author: http://www.chriscase.org/contact/

Application to Teaching: I would use this book for a unit on being yourself/being kind to others. This book could also be used for a unit on bullying, as Christopher seems to really hurt Jacob's feelings, and Jacob isn't sure what to do. ( )
  alliecipolla | Jul 25, 2017 |
Jacob is a young boy with a variety of interests and tastes, amongst which is a fondness for dresses. Despite the teasing of his classmate Christopher, he persists in his desire to be the princess at dress-up time, and asks his mother if he can have a dress to wear to school. After her initial resistance, Jacob's mother helps him make the desired garment, and he proudly wears it to school. When Christopher once again makes himself obnoxious, starting a game of tag between the girls and boys, and telling Jacob he should be on the girls' team, Jacob feels the protective power of his dress, and doesn't let it get him down...

One of a number of recent picture-books meant to offer encouragement and affirmation to gender-fluid children - another recent one would be James Howe's Big Bob, Little Bob - Jacob's New Dress highlights the message that there are all kinds of boys, some of whom will be attracted to the dress and interests that have traditionally been defined by society as feminine, and that that's OK. Co-authors Sarah and Ian Hoffman are the parents of a gender-fluid son themselves, something mentioned in the dust-jacket blurb about them, so I appreciated the way that their own life experience has informed the story they have to tell. I also appreciated the fact that they mention, in their afterword, that gender-fluidity isn't a sure sign of such things as sexual orientation or even eventual gender identity, and that they think young childhood is too early a time to really know those things about any person. That dovetails with my own thinking on the matter, and leaves the issue open, something I think is so important when dealing with the young, who need the safety and space to experiment, without those experiments being read by the adults around them as one thing or another.

Leaving that aside, the story here is fairly engaging, despite the obvious didactic purpose of the authors, and the artwork is colorful and appealing, in a somewhat cartoon-like way. Recommended to anyone looking for stories about gender-fluid children specifically, or about issues of tolerance and bullying in general. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 20, 2017 |
I think that Jacob’s New Dress is a good book for primarily two reasons. First, the artwork was nice to look at. The pages were colorful, but not so colorful that it took away from the seriousness of the work. When I think of great, colorful pages with a lot going on, I think of books that focus on the humor of situations. The plot of Jacob’s New Dress needed the soft water colors used in the pictures. Thirdly, I really liked that the central theme of the book. On the surface, the main purpose of the book is to teach children about gender identity. But if you dig deeper into the story it’s really a book about being yourself, despite the odds against you. We live in a society where bullying is becoming more prominent, or at least talked about more. I was bullied a lot as a kid for being that weird kid, and it forced me to put down parts of my personality that made me who I was. It was actually due to children’s books and TV programs that focused on the weird kids that helped me realize I didn’t have to be somebody I wasn’t. Jacob’s New Dress teaches this very well, by having Jacob imagine his dress as a suit of armor to combat the bullying while also being himself. ( )
  jserin2 | Feb 5, 2017 |
Like my recent review of the elephant and piggie book where elephant is worried that piggie will like her new friend more than him, and the message is that that's a silly thing to worry about but your kid is like "uh, yeah, why even tell us that in the first place" and then starts to wonder if his friends are also gonna like other kids more, this one seems too highly evolved for its own good: Jacob is wearing his dress and Emmett is maybe like "that kid has a nice dress" but more interested in what kinda trucks he's playing with, but then the other mean kid is like "boys can't wear dresses!" and the story is intended to be a heartwarming tale of triumphing over that kind of adversity and being true to yourself but maybe more just has the effect of planting in your two-year-old's mind a great perplexity and even a worm of doubt about whether, in fact, boys can wear dresses where there was no such doubt before. But maybe it's my fault for reading this book to a toddler when it's clearly more for six-year-olds. ( )
2 vote MeditationesMartini | Jan 11, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Hoffmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hoffman, Ianmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Case, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807563730, Hardcover)

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don't identify with traditional gender roles.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:08 -0400)

Jacob, who likes to wear dresses at home, convinces his parents to let him wear a dress to school too.

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