Dress Coded

Written By: Carrie Firestone

Cover Art by: Tyler Feder

For Ages: YA Middle Grades & Up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Growing Up, Feminism, Podcasting, Activism, Body Shaming, Friendship, Addiction, Siblings, LGBTQ.


Eighth grader Molly is sick of seeing her friends and other girls in her school fall victim to the dress code, which is unequally invoked by administration. When the principal attempts to bribe the grade with an overnight trip for no dress code violations and shame students for “ruining” it for others, Molly takes matters into her own hands. She begins a podcast to catalogue the outfits that are getting girls in trouble. What Molly begins to realize though, is that something much more troubling is going on.

I love the way that Molly’s mother supports Molly on her crusade to change the dress code from unfairly targeting girls. Molly comes to realize that different body types are being policed more, and in one situation a new Black student’s hair is targeted. The complaints and “distractions” of the AFAB body are not new, and they are things that we dealt with in school too. I’m sure every girl can remember a time that they were told their shoulders or knees would distract from boys’ learning (but of course going home to change wouldn’t interrupt girls’ learning). Molly starts her podcast because she recognizes misogyny at work, and is ready to take all avenues to make some changes. During all of this, her family is reeling from continued difficulties with her brother’s vaping addiction and selling supplies to other underage kids. Overall, I really recommend this book. It shows the highs and lows of gathering community support for school changes, friendship, and exemplifies a person who wants to leave behind a legacy for others after she has graduated.

This book was generously sent by Penguin Kids, but all opinions are my own!

Carrie Firestone

Carrie Firestone is a writer, teacher, and community leader. As a child, she spent a lot of time worrying about the world. Carrie learned to channel that worry into action, through storytelling, project-based service work, and teaching young people. Carrie lives in Connecticut with her husband Michael, her daughters, and her rescue dogs.

Tyler Feder

Tyler Feder is an artist whose work explores big feelings, feminism, and pop culture.

She illustrated Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space (Ten Speed) by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin and her first solo book, Dancing at the Pity Party (Dial), a graphic memoir about the premature death of her super cool mom, is now available for preorder.  Selected freelance clients include Netflix, Comedy Central, and ESPN.  Tyler also runs Roaring Softly, where she sells prints and merchandise featuring her illustrations.

Tyler graduated from Northwestern University in 2011 with a B.A. in Radio/TV/Film and a certificate in Creative Writing for the Media.  She completed the Writing Program at the Second City Training Center in 2013.

When she is not making art, Tyler enjoys milky coffee, jigsaw puzzles, and staring emo-ly into Lake Michigan.  She currently lives and works out of a teeny apartment in Chicago with her beloved cat son, Mitzvah Bear.  

Tyler’s favorite color is pink (obviously).

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