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Site Design and Illustrations by Lorian Tu-Dean (c) 2016

First Look at DRESS LIKE A GIRL by Patricia Toht and Lorian Tu-Dean

June 28, 2018

Once upon a time ago I met this illustrator through #kidlitart named Lorian. I loved the way she drew. Period. There was love in every line. Thought in every color. And life! Exuberant life bursting from each illustration.


We shared an agent for a time.


She designed and illustrated my website.


And we started a webcomic together called ASHA WENT WALKING.

Then Lorian got busier than usual (book contracts!!!) and we stuck to mostly texting for the next few months. But then I got one of those super special texts that I just had to do something about. Because what's a friend if not for a celebration companion.


And so, readers readers readers, what say we take a peek at what Lorian's been up to all this time!


First things first. 


There's nothing official about this cover reveal. In fact, you can already go and see the real cover right here. But why do that when you can stick with me? I'm much more fun than clicking. I promise you.


First, let's get a description.


What’s the right way to dress like a girl? In this timely picture book in the vein of Princesses Wear Pants, a slumber party full of girls enacts their own playful, empowering twists on several stuffy, old-timey rules of fashion.


What does it mean to dress like a girl?

Many will tell you in this big wide world

that there are strict rules that must be addressed,

rules you will need when looking your best.

But when you are given these rules to obey,

the secret is heeding them—in your own way.


In these beautifully illustrated pages, a diverse cast of slumber-party participants considers the most time-honored traditions for how to dress. If a lady should wear white in summertime, then how about donning a space suit? If team colors are apropos at sporting events, why not wear the helmets and play ball?


Empowering and resonant and with a variety of interests ranging from sports to science to politics, this gorgeous book is sure to inspire any young girl, instilling the idea that the best way to dress like a girl is the way that makes you feel most like YOU!



Check out the COVER!

Based on that description and this cover, I'd say we're in for a sweet and affirming story fit for any reader.


Our daughter is 3 years old and loves to mismatch dress-up clothes to be a "doctor princess" or an "Elsa (Frozen) builder".  She changes her clothes all the time and several times the same day (and sometimes the same hour). Dressing up is something fun for her and she's definitely aware of how certain clothes make her feel. Thinking about how her imaginative play is building those thoughts about what she could be or do as she gets older is something that her mother and I keep in mind all the time. And that reminds me of just how intentional all parents need to be in order to help break down gender norms and paint a new "truth" for our children as they grow up. Nothing simple or straightforward about that. I've realized as a parent just how much I'm continually affronted by how gender norms are presented to children regularly.  I mean... it's on toy advertising. It's in the available color options for clothes whenever you're out shopping. It's pretty much everywhere. 


But I digress. 


From cover alone we have a cast of girls who know their endless career options can take them all over the world and in myriad acts of service. Work that will require bravery and creativity and strength and intelligence. Careers that their parents may have only known as male-dominated, but that these girls will see differently as they help to make their own futures.


And for our youngest readers, that's a message we want to share early and often with all children. The more they see themselves and see representations of children like them with similar skin colors and interests, the more we will be instilling the message that they can attain whatever future they can dream for themselves.


CONGRATS, Patricia! And CONGRATS, Lorian!


DRESS LIKE A GIRL is scheduled to publish on JANUARY 22, 2019 from HarperCollins.

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