Dynamic Book Duos: Make Do and Create Something New!

Please welcome authors Claire Noland and Jeanne Walker Harvey to Dynamic Book Duos – a blog featuring two books that pair together in a meaningful way along with educational activities to strengthen reading skills. This week’s pairing focuses on resourceful girls who make do and create something new!

PERFECT PAIR: Make Do and Create Something New!

In Nancy Bess Had a Dress by Claire Annette Noland illustrated by Angela C. Hawkins, a resourceful girl living in the depression era, uses the fabric from a flour sack to create a dress and much more.

In Dressing up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head by Jeanne Walker Harvey with illustrations by Diana Toledo, a shy young girl creates costumes and accessories from fabric scraps collected from neighbors and eventually goes on to become an award-winning designer.

Both of these stories celebrate resourceful girls who use what is available to fashion new creations including outfits for their pets.

Book 1: Nancy Bess Has a Dress

Waste not, want not! A patterned flour sack becomes a clever creation in this story set in the late 1930’s featuring a crafty girl with a gift for repurposing her favorite daisy print. When the family flour sack is emptied, Nancy Bess remakes it into a dress. But little girls grow as little girls do, and soon that dress is too small. Bit by bit, Nancy Bess fashions the fabric into new creations, until finally, all that is left of the flour sack are a few bits and pieces. Peering into the family scrap basket, Nancy Bess comes up with a plan to use the material once more, sewing something special to last for generations.

Book 2: Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head

As a child in the small mining town of Searchlight, Nevada, Edith Head had few friends and spent most of her time dressing up her toys and pets and even wild animals using fabric scraps. She always knew she wanted to move somewhere full of people and excitement. She set her sights on Hollywood and talked her way into a job sketching costumes for a movie studio. Did she know how to draw or sew costumes? No. But that didn’t stop her!

Edith taught herself and tirelessly worked her way up until she was dressing some of the biggest stars of the day, from Audrey Hepburn to Grace Kelly to Ginger Rogers. She became the first woman to head a major Hollywood movie studio costume department and went on to win eight Academy Awards for best costume design—and she defined the style of an era.


Activities for Nancy Bess has a Dress:

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Activities for Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head

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Activity for Both Books: Make a No-Sew Dog Collar


Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is an award-winning nonfiction children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds. Suzanne’s first nonfiction picture book, I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks, debuted in April 2019 from Warren Publishing. Her second book Mighty Mahi launched from Doodle and Peck Publishing in March 2022. Suzanne enjoys speaking to schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.

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