Inspired by book, Bolles students collect dresses for girls in Guatemala


A group of moms and daughters from the Bolles Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus proved summer reading can be life-changing after being inspired to do good because of the lessons learned through a book club.

Inspired by a book the group read, the rising fourth grade girls and their mothers collected dresses to be donated to girls in Guatemala, where an estimated 75 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

The book that moved the group to action was Eleanor Estes’ Newbery Honor-winning book, “The Hundred Dresses.” The book follows a young Polish girl named Wanda, who is bullied by her American peers at school because she wears the same faded blue dress to school every day. Though she claims she has several more dresses at home, her classmates call her bluff and tease her without remorse – until one day, Wanda is pulled out of school. Though it’s too late for apologies, former classmate Maddie decides she’ll never again stand idly by when she sees a classmate being bullied.

“The message of acceptance and of not teasing someone for being different is a valuable lesson for us all,” said Pat Sonn, who helped organize and host the summer reading group.

Kathy Rawlins, a language arts curriculum and learning specialist at Bolles who provided books and a guide for the discussion group, said she was touched by the group’s efforts and understanding of the message, as well as their commitment to doing good.

“This makes my heart proud,” she said.