This Children’s Book on Immigration Comes as Adults Seek to Guide and Comfort Kids

Chapel Hill author Camille Andros’ new book “The Dress and the Girl” couldn’t be more timely.

The book — a tale of a young girl separated from her dress upon moving to America — hits book-sellers’ shelves Aug. 7, arriving as parents and teachers seek new ways to help children understand the daily headlines about immigration.
But that wasn’t Andros’ intent when she began the book a decade ago.

“If you write to a trend, it’ll be over by the time your book comes out,” she said in an interview.

“The Dress and the Girl” is the first story that made her want to write professionally. (It’s her second book. Her first is the popular “Charlotte the Scientist is Squished.”)

The book evolved over 10 years as she figured out how to write a children’s book. She had no way of knowing it would come out when immigration is such a hot topic, but she hopes the book, aimed for readers 4-8, will comfort children.

“The Dress and the Girl” is a gentle, lyrical story that takes place “back when time seemed slower and life simpler.” The main characters, an unnamed girl and her dress, spend their days on a small island “picking daffodils, feeling the wind and staring at the stars,” but both of them “long for the extraordinary.”

Neither dreams of the adventures awaiting them when they emigrate to America and are separated for many years.

The book, illustrated by sought-after artist Julie Morstad, was inspired by a family story. Her husband, Nathan Andros, has a great-grandfather who was one of 11 children. Harry Andros left his family in Greece when immigrated to the United States in 1907. He worked on the railroad and sent money back to home the rest of his life. But he never saw his family again.

By Susie Wilde for THE NEWS & OBSERVER
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