Books for Kids: Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

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Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress
Groundwood Books, House of Anansi
age 5-8
By Christine Baldacchino, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
32 pages

Synopsis from Groundwood Books:

Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom’s dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress. But the children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses.

Kids aren’t born believing in stereotypes. They learn them from the world around them. That can make it difficult for kids that go against the grain, like Morris in Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. There seems to be a lot of talk about boys and wearing clothing once deemed something only girls would wear but this story can translate into more than just Morris’ desire to wear his favourite outfit in the dress-up corner. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress is a great book for starting discussions around people our kids see are different and why they perceive them that way. Ultimately it is the person that matters, as the kids soon discover in the story.

Hopefully this story helps kids retain the courage to be who they are (and want to be). This isn’t just a book for a child who breaks the stereotypes, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress is appropriate for all kids. Helping them to understand how words and actions can make someone feel, that they need to look beyond the surface of a person, hopefully will lead to more accepting children and ultimate more inclusive adults. This heartwarming story is supported with lovely illustrations where you’ll see splashes of the tangerine colour both in the dress and the wonderful world that surrounds Morris. I also like that the story has Morris deciding to do what makes him happy, without an adult character stepping in.

You can find a copy of Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress at your local bookstore or at Sterling Books Books. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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