This school-life, family-life book by Eleanor Estes is published by Harcourt Children's Books and is written for kids ages 5 to 10. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Wanda Petronski's strange last name is just one of many attributes that makes her odd in the eyes of her classmates. She lives in a shabby neighborhood next door to a man who everyone believes is crazy. Every day, Wanda wears the same blue dress — although she claims she has a hundred dresses in her closet at home. A girl named Peggy frequently teases Wanda about the hundred dresses, and Peggy's reluctant sidekick, Maddie, joins the taunting to avoid getting teased. Only after Wanda creates 100 beautiful pictures of dresses, do Peggy and Maddie realize how they've hurt her, and they try to make amends.
Nothing overtly Christian is mentioned, though Wanda demonstrates grace and forgiveness toward the girls who tease her.
Miss Mason, the girls' teacher, raves about Wanda's artwork. She receives a note from Wanda's father, which indicates that Wanda's family is moving due to prejudice against their Polish heritage. After reading the letter, Miss Mason says she'd prefer to believe no one purposely hurt Wanda's feelings, and she asks the students to think about what has happened.
Newbery Honor Book, 1945
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
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